Applying For SSDI/SSI Benefits In New Jersey

Before discussing the application process for Social Security benefits, it is important to understand the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSDI is an insurance program for individuals with disabilities. Workers pay SSDI premiums every time they get a paycheck and money has been withheld for the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax. The amount of your monthly SSDI benefit is based on how much you have paid in FICA taxes over the years.

SSI is a needs-based federal income supplement program that is designed to assist the elderly (65 and older) as well as disabled individuals of any age. To qualify for SSI benefits, you must have little or no income and less than $2,000 in assets if you are single and less than $3,000 if you are married (not counting the value of your home if you live in it or the value of your car).

How Do I Know If I Qualify?

In order to qualify for either SSDI or SSI benefits, you must be "disabled" as that term is defined by the Social Security Rules and Regulations. "Disability" is defined as a medical condition that is expected to prevent someone from working and meeting substantial gainful activity (SGA) levels for a minimum of 12 months or end in death. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not pay short-term or partial disability benefits.

The basic information you will need to provide includes:

  • All prescriptions that you take
  • Comprehensive medical records from all doctors, therapists, hospitals, etc.
  • Laboratory and test results
  • A summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did

It is important to apply for benefits as early as possible. The Social Security Administration will only pay disability benefits going back one year from the date of application. Failure to file your SSDI or SSI claim early can deprive you of receiving benefits that you might otherwise have qualified for if you filed promptly. Processing an initial claim can take up to six months. If you need to appeal a denied claim — and a majority of applicants do — the process can take a year or even two years.

Appealing A Denied Claim

As much as 80 percent of initial claims are denied, often because complete information was not provided. If you wish to appeal a denied claim, you must do so within 60 days of receiving the notice from the SSA.

I am attorney Paul Tendler and I have successfully represented hundreds of clients in both SSDI and SSI appeals. I advocate on behalf of my clients and communicate with SSA officials to ensure that the full details of your disability are made clear.

I also work with your doctors and other health care providers to obtain full reports that spell out your functional limitations in order to improve your chances of getting your claim approved. I have attended hundreds of hearings on behalf of my clients and, as such, I am well-versed in what is expected for you to win your case.

Put A Knowledgeable Social Security Disability Benefits Lawyer In Your Corner

If you are applying for SSDI/SSI benefits, or if your initial application has been denied, I can help. Call 609-365-7632 or use my online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. I will review the facts of your case, provide a candid assessment and recommend the best steps to take next. I work with clients throughout south New Jersey from my office in Somers Point.