Many Americans rely on Social Security to provide a safety net when they have disabilities that prevent them from working and earning a living. However, the path to acquiring benefits is notoriously difficult to navigate, governed by strict guidelines and qualifications, and surrounded by dense legal issues. Consequently, a number of applicants in Trenton, NJ receive denials or disability decisions that fail to meet their needs.
The Social Security Administration administers both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both federal programs provide disability benefits to people who cannot work and use the same criteria to measure qualifying physical or mental impairments. According to the Social Security Administration, the maximum Social Security Disability benefit is $3,345 in 2022. More specifically, for 2022, the maximum amounts are $841 for individuals and $1,261 for individuals with spouses
At Bross & Frankel, PA, our Trenton, NJ Social Security disability lawyers represent disabled men and women in the complex application process and during any subsequent appeals. In order to make the process as smooth and successful as possible, we provide comprehensive assistance, educate clients about their rights, and handle the legal aspects of their claims. To learn more about how our disability attorneys can advocate for you in your SSD case, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Am I Eligible For Social Security Disability Insurance?
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program pays income replacement benefits to people who have worked and paid taxes into the system. A person’s monthly benefits are determined by how much he or she has paid in (up to a maximum amount). Those eligible for SSDI benefits are also eligible for Medicare after a 24-month qualifying period.
Applicants must have a qualifying physical or mental impairment (or both) that significantly impairs their ability to work, and benefits are only available if you worked for a sufficient period before your injury. A spouse or child who has lost a loved one may also be eligible for survivor benefits.
SSDI payments average between $800 and $1800 per month. A person’s monthly benefit is based on their earnings over the years, and it may be reduced by other benefits, such as workers’ compensation or state benefits. Those who have reached full retirement age can also receive this amount for their monthly Social Security retirement payment.
If you are not eligible for SSDI due to insufficient work history and have limited income, you may still qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Trenton, NJ Social Security disability lawyers at Our firm also assists clients with their SSI applications.
Am I Eligible For Supplemental Security Income?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a government benefit program for the elderly, the blind, or the disabled. People with little income and few assets can receive SSI benefits to meet their basic living expenses, along with access to healthcare coverage through Medicaid. If you are ineligible for Social Security Disability, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income.
There is a fixed monthly benefit, and income and assets must be below a certain level in order to qualify. Our Social Security Disability lawyers can assist you in determining your eligibility before the application process begins.
What Is A Qualifying Impairment?
With disability qualifications, each impairment has specific criteria. It is important to note, however, that the presence of an injury or diagnosed condition does not guarantee you’ll qualify for SSDI. The symptoms or limitations must prevent you from working for at least one year. This doesn’t mean that you need to wait a year to speak with an attorney. Contact the Social Security disability lawyers at Bross & Frankel immediately if you have a condition that may make it difficult for you to work for an extended period of time.
Some of the conditions that may qualify you for SSDI or SSI include:
- Certain cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, and breast cancer
- Conditions related to the cardiovascular system, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or blood clots
- Diseases of the blood, such as anemia and sickle cell
- Diseases of the respiratory system, such as lung disease or asthma
- Disorders of the musculoskeletal system, such as herniated discs
- Epilepsy, cerebral palsy, or other neurological disorders
- Speech, hearing, or vision problems
- Mental disorders such as PTSD, bipolar disorder, or depression
- Endocrine system problems, such as thyroid disorders or obesity
- AIDS, Lupus, or other autoimmune diseases
Our Social Security Disability lawyers can help you collect and present the medical evidence needed to prove the extent of your condition and its impact on your ability to work.
Claim Denial And The Appeals Process
Most claims are denied at the initial evaluation, but this decision can be appealed. Upon receiving a denial of your claim, you have 60 days to appeal in writing. At this time it’s best to contact a New Jersey disability appeals lawyer to discuss your claim.
The appeals process consists of four levels:
- Reconsideration: You want your original claim reviewed completely. A new medical examiner will review the evidence and make a decision. In the event your claim is denied again, you will receive an explanation similar to the one you received for your initial application.
- Administrative Law Judge (ALJ): If you want to pursue your claim after a reconsideration, you must request a hearing before an ALJ within 60 days. In order to support your claim, you may be asked for more information or evidence. Your attorney may hire experts to testify about your condition. Attending the hearing remotely, via video conference, may be possible.
- Appeals Council: It is possible to request an appeal by the Appeals Council if the hearing by the ALJ is unsuccessful. If the council finds a flaw in the ALJ’s decision, your case may be reviewed. The Appeals Council rarely overturns a decision without good reason. However, if you want to pursue your case further, this step is necessary.
- Federal Court: Upon exhausting all appeals, you may file a lawsuit in US District Court. A judge will review your case for legal errors and possible factual errors as well. Your case may be remanded to the Social Security Administration if they believe your condition requires further consideration.
Our Trenton disability lawyers can guide you through each of these steps.
What Are My Chances Of Winning an Appeal?
Apart from strong medical evidence of impairment, your chances of a successful appeal may vary based on the level of appeal and whether you are represented by an experienced attorney. According to one survey, 50% of respondents with a disability benefits lawyer won their case after a hearing, compared with 23% of those who represented themselves.
How Long Does An Appeal Decision Take?
This question is dependent on the level of appeal, so it may require patience. Based on the SSA’s current caseload, reconsideration may take a few weeks to a few months. It can take a year or more for administrative law judges to issue a decision. Appeals Council decisions usually take at least a year, sometimes more. A federal case usually lasts at least a year, but may last for several years. While a good lawyer can’t speed up the process, they can significantly increase your chances of success.
What Is Long-Term Disability Insurance?
Long-term disability insurance (LTD) protects you in the event that you cannot work due to a disability. Workers’ compensation usually protects you if you are injured or become ill on the job, while a long-term disability policy pays benefits if you are injured or ill for reasons unrelated to your job. As such, it provides income protection.
You can usually acquire LTD insurance through your employer’s group plan or by purchasing it on your own. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, governs most (but not all) group plans. As a result of this law, insurers are required to provide certain information to their policyholders and to establish an appeals process.
ERISA allows policyholders to sue in federal court if their claims are denied or terminated improperly. (State law governs policies that are not subject to ERISA. A lawsuit regarding these LTD policies will be heard in state court.) If you encounter problems with an employer-sponsored LTD plan, speak with an ERISA lawyer at Bross & Frankel, PA.
When Should You Hire a Trenton, NJ Social Security Disability Lawyer?
Many applicants look into hiring a lawyer when their initial claim is denied and they need to appeal. However, you can -and probably should -seek legal representation when you’re preparing your original application: research suggests that those who seek disability benefits with a lawyer’s help are three times more likely to succeed than those who handle their own claim.
When your ability to work has been impaired by a physical or mental disability, choosing the right attorney is crucial. Here are some questions to ask when selecting a Social Security Disability (SSD) lawyer:
- Does the attorney have the necessary experience to handle my case?
- Is the attorney experienced in SSD appeals?
- Is my attorney going to see my case through to the end?
- What level of SSD expertise does the attorney have?
- Does the lawyer have the respect of his or her peers?
You are more likely to succeed in the claims process if you have a skilled attorney on your side. An experienced lawyer can ensure that all your records are in order and that all evidence is filed on time at this stage. (Missed deadlines or incomplete evidence often lead to claims being denied.) Trenton, NJ Social Security disability lawyers can also speak with your doctors and other medical providers on your behalf, represent you at your hearing, and make sure you know what to expect at every stage.
Why Hire Bross & Frankel, PA, for Your Disability Claim?
Every year, hundreds of clients choose Bross & Frankel, PA, to handle their SSDI and SSI claims because we have a proven record of results and focus a significant part of our practice on disability law. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients obtain disability benefits. As we handle a large number of disability claims each year, we also have experience in disability appeals. Our skill in handling appeals at all levels, from administrative to federal court, is well known.
Obtaining benefits can make a significant difference in someone’s life, which is why we never stop fighting for our clients. We have a long history of success in disability claims and are ready to put it to work for you.
You do not have to pay anything to hire us. There is no fee for the consultation, and no attorney fees are charged unless you receive benefits. When this happens, the Social Security Administration will pay our fee separately: no money leaves your pocket.
Get a Free Consultation From a Trenton, NJ Social Security Disability Lawyer Nearby
Getting benefits when you are unable to work is crucial to your well-being and to the future of your family. When you work without an attorney, you risk incomplete disability applications, delays, and denials. Make sure you have experienced Trenton disability lawyers on your side by contacting Bross & Frankel, PA today. To schedule your free consultation, call our law offices today at 856-210-3345 or contact us online.