How Do I Know If I Am Eligible for Disability Benefits?

Disability benefits provide vital funds for individuals who find themselves unable to work due to a disability. These benefits help disabled people and their families to live independently, keep a roof over their heads, and pay for essential life-sustaining medications. 

Disability Lawyers in New Jersey understand every aspect of the complicated Social Security system. They can advise you about the likelihood of your claim’s success and the best approach to ensure you get the disability benefits you need. 

Social Security Disability Benefits Programs

There are two distinct programs available to provide benefits to individuals who become disabled. It’s possible to qualify for one or both, depending on the fulfilment of the criteria. 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

The SSDI program benefits disabled individuals who have paid Social Security taxes over the years through work or self-employment. To qualify, an individual must:

  • Have a condition that prevents them from working for twelve months or more or that is going  to result in death
  • Have worked long enough and earned enough “credits” in jobs covered by Social Security. 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is based on income and need. To qualify, an individual must:

  • Be age 65 or older, blind, or disable
  • Have minimal income (including money from work or other benefit programs) 
  • Have limited resources (possessions you own, such as cars or life insurance)
  • Be a U.S. citizen or national, or be in an approved category of person who is not a U.S. citizen or national
  • Be a resident of the United States who is not out of the country for 30 or more consecutive days

Determining Eligibility For Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA), the federal agency that administers Social Security benefits in the country defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment that is expected to result in death or which has lasted or is expected to last for at least twelve months. 

Substantial gainful activity (SGA) refers to a person’s ability to perform significant duties and tasks for pay or profit over a reasonable time. To be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits, the individual must be unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). 

The SSA considers you disabled under Social Security rules if you meet the following conditions: 

  • You must have a physical or mental impairment.
  • The impairment prevents you from doing any substantial gainful work, and
  • The disability must be expected to last, or have lasted twelve months, or it must be expected to result in death.

To medically qualify for disability benefits, you must meet the SSA’s eligibility criteria in the SSA’s listing of Impairments called the Blue Book. The Blue Book outlines the conditions that qualify for disability benefits and the qualifying criteria for each disabling condition.

Medical-vocational Allowance 

If you don’t meet the provisions of the Social Security listing, but your disability prevents you from returning to work, you may qualify for disability benefits through a medical-vocational allowance. 

The SSA will examine your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) to determine if you can work.

The SSA will give you a rating of the type of work it thinks you can do (skilled work, semi-skilled work, unskilled work, or less than unskilled work). 

The SSA will review medical records, including statements from your medical sources. 

The SSA will also consider descriptions of your limits from your family and friends. 

Contact A Disability Lawyer Today

If you cannot work due to a disabling condition and need to pursue a Social Security Disability claim, it is essential to have a disability attorney to guide you through the disability application process. 

Claimants who hire attorneys are far more likely to win their Social Security disability cases. A study by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has revealed that people who hired an attorney were three times more likely to be successful than those who didn’t.

If you or a loved one can no longer work due to a disability in New Jersey, a disability lawyer at Chermol And Fishman can assist you and your family through every step of the disability benefits claims process. 

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