New Jersey Social Security Disability Attorney
Put 80 Years of Legal Experience To Work For You
If you have been injured and your disabilities prevent you from working to your former capacity, you could be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. The type and amount of benefits you could receive will depend on a number of factors and the application process can be complex.
To understand what you're up against when applying for SSD, it's worth talking to an attorney. Levinson Axelrod, P.A. has been representing residents across New Jersey since 1939. Whether you need help making sense of the SSD system, applying for benefits, or appealing a denial, we're ready to get started.
Contact us for a FREE consultation with a New Jersey Social Security disability lawyer.
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.
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 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.
- 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.
People often 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: 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 the SSA uses to determine if an individual is eligible to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance. This test requires an individual to 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, you 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 have the right to appeal a denial from the SSA. 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.
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 helps clients navigate initial applications and 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.
Medical Malpractice Settlement $12,500,000
Tractor-Trailer Jury Verdict $8,000,000
A 35-year-old laborer who resides in Kearny was seriously injured while working on the median of a highway when a passing tractor-trailer lost a wheel that struck him. Evidence at trial established that after a recent tire change, the lug nuts were not properly secured by both the owner and the independent contractor who had installed the tire. Our client suffered severe head and orthopedic injuries and is now totally disabled as a result of the accident.
Premises Liability Jury Verdict $7,000,000
A woman was putting her 3-year-old son on a carnival amusement ride while holding onto a portable fence when she received an electrical shock. Our client was hospitalized and later developed Traumatic Dystonia, a condition that caused tremors in the hand and makes the fingers curl.
Personal Injury Settlement $7,000,000
A Middlesex County man was severely injured and burned as a result of a collision with a truck. The truck driver had lost control of his vehicle and had come through a median barrier which had failed to redirect the truck away from oncoming traffic. Expert testimony established that the median barrier was defective and therefore failed to protect motorist from this type of accident.
Personal Injury Jury Verdict $6,000,000
A female drunk driver crashed into plaintiff’s vehicle causing multiple fractures to the right ankle and foot. Plaintiff’s doctor testified that plaintiff would be under pain management protocol for the rest of his life due to this condition.
Tractor-Trailer Settlement $3,700,000
A Morristown woman was injured when her vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer that lost control on black ice on Interstate 287. The defendant's truck had jack-knifed as it was changing lanes in order to avoid an earlier accident. The accident resulted in our client suffering severe head injuries.
Product Liability Jury Verdict $3,500,000
The plaintiff was injured in the products liability action when a step on his commercial truck collapsed as he was exiting his vehicle. Ronald Grayzel tried this matter before a Middlesex County jury and argued that the steps manufactured by the defendant were defective. Defendants denied this allegation and instead argued that the accident could not have occurred in the manner alleged by the plaintiff.
Personal Injury Verdict $3,200,000
Levinson Axelrod, P.A. Partner Kim Gozsa recently obtained a $3.2 million dollar verdict on behalf of a client who was injured in a slip and fall accident at an outlet shopping plaza in Jackson, New Jersey. The substantial jury award stems from a case in which Kim’s client slipped and fell on ice on a sidewalk at the Jackson Premium Outlets, an outlet shopping center in Jackson Township, New Jersey.
Personal Injury Settlement $3,000,000
A 31-year old iron worker was injured in a construction site accident when he was struck in the head by a cinder block. Despite the facts that he was wearing a hard hat at the time, the plaintiff still received a serious closed head injury resulting in both memory loss and total disability. The case was handled by both Richard Levinson and James Dunn and settled at the time of trial.
Premises Liability Jury Verdict $3,000,000
An Edison delivery man slipped on a wet floor while delivering a package. He broke his knee in the fall and suffered an injury to his spine, which in turn aggravated pre-existing conditions of incontinence and impotence which had been caused by previous injuries.
Premises Liability Jury Verdict $3,000,000
Our client, a North Plainfield man, was injured when he slipped and fell on snowy steps while exiting his building. He suffered a lumbar disc injury, requiring surgery. The jury found his landlord 100% liable for the accident for failing to clear the steps to the building.
Wrongful Death Jury Verdict $3,000,000
A worker developed asbestosis and lung cancer due to Asbestos exposure. Evidence at trial proved asbestos to be a defective product, which causes harm to workers who use it. Jury awarded the victim's widow damages for wrongful death.
Inadequate Security Jury Verdict $2,700,000
A mother of nine was shot and killed while working at a convenience store. Evidence at trial proved a lack of adequate security, including a panic button and outgoing phone line, had placed this worker at risk. Expert testimony also established that there was an increased risk of criminal activity in convenience stores which had inadequate surveillance equipment. The matter was upheld on Appeal, and settled prior to being reviewed by the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Personal Injury Settlement $2,650,000
The plaintiff sustained a traumatic amputation of one leg, and a crush injury to the opposite foot, in a construction site accident. The claim was brought against the Department of Transportation, as it had a duty to monitor safety on the work site and its failure to do so contributed to the happening of this accident.
Motorcycle Collision Settlement $2,500,000
A young man was seriously injured while riding his motorcycle to work when another driver made a left hand turn in front of him, leaving our client had no memory of the accident. He suffered a number of serious fractures and underwent multiple surgeries, leaving him with disabilities. The case settled on the second day of trial.
Personal Injury Settlement $2,500,000
Our client suffered a traumatic head injury after falling due to an unsecure railing.
Auto Accident Settlement $2,500,000
Levinson Axelrod Partner, Mark V. Kuminski represented a local Franklin Township woman who was involved in a three-car motor vehicle accident. The incident occurred when one of the drivers, later named as the defendant in the personal injury lawsuit filed by Mark and our firm, rear-ended a vehicle that had been stopped. Mark’s ability to express the full scope of damages incurred by our client, proved successful in compelling the jury to rule in our client’s favor.
Premises Liability Settlement $2,500,000
Our client was injured while delivering a 3,000 pound piece of equipment to defendant's premises. The defendant's employees were assisting our client in unloading the product when one of them prematurely activated the lift gate, causing the piece of equipment to fall and strike his legs. He suffered serious injuries to both legs, requiring multiple surgeries.
Personal Injury Jury Verdict $2,250,000
The plaintiff injured her ankle when she stepped into a cement cut out in a commercial sidewalk where a tree had been planted. The plaintiff had been walking on the sidewalk on her way to a down town holiday festival. Her attention had been distracted by a negligently placed chestnut grilling stand, thereby diverting her attention away from the cut out. The plaintiff brought claims against both the property owner and the operator of the chestnut stand.
Construction Accident Settlement $2,200,000
The plaintiff sustained a herniated disc in his lower back, for which he was required to undergo a surgical fusion. When the surgery failed to improve his symptoms, the plaintiff underwent the implantation of a spinal cord stimulator.
Levinson Axelrod, P.A. is committed to helping good people through difficult times. We build real relationships and make communication a priority to provide the best possible service and results.
No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Click here to learn more about these awards.