New Jersey Social Security Disability Attorney
Put 80 Years of Legal Experience To Work For You
The Federal Social Security Act contains provisions for Social Security Disability (SSD) for workers injured on the job. If you have been injured and your disabilities prevent you from working to your former capacity, you could be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The type and amount of benefits you could receive depend on a number of factors. The application process may be challenging.
It could be very beneficial for you to speak with our New Jersey Social Security disability lawyers at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. Our legal team has been representing clients since 1939. If your claim has been denied, call our office to discuss your application and how we may be able to help you file an effective appeal, and represent you before an administrative law judge.
How You Can Benefit from Hiring a Lawyer
Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be very complex. Because of this, it may be wise to hire a lawyer who understands the process and can help you provide the correct and relevant information to the Social Security Administration.
The benefits of hiring a lawyer for your SSD benefits application include:
- Avoid missteps – Because you have to provide the correct paperwork and make sure everything is accurate, you’ll want to have someone who can help you double check everything and avoid any inaccuracies in your documents.
- Gather the necessary information – The Social Security Administration will want to know about your injury, your job description, past earnings, physical limitations and any medical records you may have proving that you are unable to perform the same tasks.
- Prepare for an appeal – A large majority of initial SSD applications are denied. In fact, the rate of approval for initial SSD applications in New Jersey is 43.5%. Having an attorney can prepare you for the possible appeal process in front of an administrative law judge.
While it is not necessary to hire a lawyer when applying for Social Security disability, going at it alone could prove to be a mistake. You may miss out on a certain deadline or fail to provide the right records for the hearing. This can result in you being denied benefits completely.
At Levinson Axelrod, P.A., our attorneys have the experience necessary to guide you through the entire application process. We know what Social Security disability benefits can do to help our clients and how it can impact their future. Our goal is to take care of you and your family.
The Difference Between SSI & SSDI
There are two types of benefits commonly thought of as “Social Security Disability.” One is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the other is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is the benefit most people think of when they think of disability. It is a payment system for people who have worked and paid into the Social Security system but who are (1) unable to continue working and (2) too young to receive Social Security retirement benefits. SSI is a benefit for persons who are ineligible for SSDI but who are incapable of working.
While both require that a person be disabled in order to receive benefits, the main difference between the two is that SSI is based on financial need, whereas SSDI eligibility does not take a person’s finances into account. It is possible to receive both benefits at the same time.
SSDI requires that a person have enough “work credits” for the ten-year period before applying for disability in order to be eligible. You earn one work credit for each quarter you work in a job that pays into the Social Security system. If a person has enough work credits, they are eligible for SSDI. If they do not, they are limited to applying for SSI. It is important to note that eligibility for SSDI depends on how recently you paid into the system, not for how long you paid into the system. You must have at least 20 work credits for the ten years prior to applying for SSDI.
I often hear people say, “but I paid into the system for so many years.” These contributions go towards your Social Security Retirement benefits. SSDI benefits require that a person paid into the system recently. This also means that once a person stops working (date of last insured), there is a definite cut off point for when they can apply; a person could be eligible to apply for SSDI in one quarter but ineligible the next.
Am I Eligible for SSD Benefits in New Jersey?
When someone applies for Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will determine if the individual qualifies, taking a number of factors into consideration. The Social Security Administration considers the following:
- Available programs: Various factors like the length of time worked or income and assets available determine whether an individual is eligible for Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income or both.
- Work history: The duration of work test is the general basis that the SSA uses to determine if an individual is eligible to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance. This test requires that an individual have worked approximately five of the last ten years. Individuals who have never worked may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income.
- Assets available: Supplemental Security Income is a “means-based” program, meaning the Social Security Administration will evaluate an individual’s financial resources to determine if an individual qualifies for SSI benefits.
- Evaluation of work activities: If you are applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, an individual must not be able to perform “substantial gainful activity” (work). This includes performing your old job and not being able to adapt to a new job. For example, if you hurt your leg, but can still perform a job that allows you to sit during the day, your application may be denied.
- Medical condition: The Disability Determination Services office will determine if your disability is enough to keep you from performing work duties and if it warrants benefits.
If your Social Security Disability claim was denied, don’t give up hope. You absolutely have the right to appeal this decision from the Social Security Administration. Our New Jersey SSD lawyers at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. can help you do that.
Qualifying for Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income is designed for individuals who are over the age of 65, blind, or disabled, and have low income and few resources. Your income is one of the deciding factors regarding your application for SSI. This includes wages, Social Security disability benefits, pensions, and assets such as shelter or food. Resources are the other factor. This includes bank accounts, real estate, stock, bonds, and cash.
Individuals living in a rest home, halfway home, or in prison or jail may not qualify to receive SSI.
It is important to know that applications for either Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income may be appealed if the initial application is denied. This is where a lawyer becomes critical to your case. At Levinson Axelrod, P.A., our team is determined to help our clients get through this difficult time. We stand by your side through the initial application process as well as appeals if necessary.
Types of Jobs That May Not Be Covered By SSD
Unfortunately, not all individuals are eligible to apply for Social Security disability benefits due to the types of jobs they have. Some employees work in certain situations that don’t qualify under the requirements set forth by the Social Security Administration.
Jobs not covered by Social Security may include, but are not limited to the following:
- State government workers
- Local government workers
- Federal employees
- Railroad employees
- Family business employees under the age of 21
There are some circumstances in which these jobs may be affected, so discussing your case with a lawyer may be beneficial. For example, some local and state governments make the decision to opt out of Social Security coverage and their employees would not qualify. If you know that you do not qualify for Social Security benefits because of your occupation, you shouldn’t begin the application process.
Call Levinson Axelrod, P.A. for a Free Case Evaluation
If you have questions, or you're ready to get started, contact our New Jersey Social Security disability attorneys to discuss your case. You have the right to appeal any decision. Our firm can walk you through that process. We have been representing clients in New Jersey for 80 years. With over a billion dollars recovered for our clients since opening our firm in 1939, we have the experience necessary to go to bat for you.
Call Levinson Axelrod, P.A. today at (732) 440-3089 for your free consultation.