In New Jersey, 2.6 percent of residents receive SSDI benefits while17.7 percent of working-age people with disabilities in New Jersey receive SSI.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will assess disability benefit claims and may grant a benefit to those whose disability characteristics meet the SSA’s precise criteria. All is not lost if a claim is denied as with the help of a disability lawyer it may be possible for an appeal to be lodged and won.
Social Security Benefits in New Jersey: Key Facts
The Social Security Administration is the federal body that has been delegated the responsibility for approving disability benefits for anyone who fits the criteria and who lives in any state in the U.S., including the state of New Jersey.
There are 11 social security offices in New Jersey where an applicant for disability benefits can visit to apply for a social security benefit. The cities where a SSA field office is located are:
- Cherry Hill
- East Orange
- Egg Harbor
Whether you make a claim for a social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefit or a supplementary security income (SSI) benefit your eligibility depends on the number of years of work you have completed and any earned work credits.
When an applicant files a disability benefit’s claim the application is sent to the state office of the Disability Determination Services (DDS) which will evaluate the merits of the claim. The DDS has medical personnel present who can compare the severity of a disability by matching it with the SSA’s Blue Book lists. Most, but not every disability, is listed in the Blue Book. The DDS may request the applicant has more tests conducted or go through a residual functional capacity assessment.
New Jersey has a disability rate of 24.6% of the state’s population which is a little lower than the national average of 25.6%. This doesn’t mean that all these people will be supported with disability benefits but only those whose disability is so serious that they are unable to undertake any sort of work.
In the State of New Jersey, disability applicants are expected to wait more than 12 months before a disability hearing is scheduled. After the hearing has taken place applicants need to wait another two to three months before being told the outcome of the hearing.
Appealing a Denied Social Security Benefit Claim in New Jersey
Many disability benefit claims are denied from the first application. This is mainly because the medical and case history information is inadequate for SSA claims officers to make the right decision. If your initial claim is denied the first step to take is to request a reconsideration of your claim. If this is denied too you should file a request for a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ).
Before attending the hearing date you should ensure you have more detailed data about your disability so that your claim is stronger than the first attempt. This includes:
- how your disability fits into the SSA’s Blue Book criteria;
- a more detailed medical history;
- a more detailed work history;
- when your disability began and became so severe that you could no longer work.
You may wish to ask your physician to undertake a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment which confirms what you are able to do both physically and mentally.
The ALJ’s job is to scrutinize all the information you have sent to the SSA up to now and any new information you are able to provide at the hearing. Medical experts may attend the event to ask you more questions so they can reach their own fair decision. Many claims in New Jersey are finally approved after this hearing, but if unsuccessful, there are still more steps available to take in the appeal process.
Help Filing for Disability Benefits in New Jersey
Getting the disability benefits you are entitled to means that you will need to follow a complex process so a disability lawyer can guide you through this process including an appeal if your initial social security disability benefit claim is denial.
Your lawyer can help you arrange any further tests, ensure your medical records are up-to-date and arrange an RFC assessment if it would give you a better chance of reversing a claim that has been denied.