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How to Process Disability Benefits in New Jersey

If you’re so disabled that you can no longer work, consider applying for disability benefits in New Jersey. These benefits serve as a lifeline for those struggling to pay for housing, food, and other necessities.

The path to approval for disability benefits can be long and complicated. Below, you’ll learn about different disability benefits programs, eligibility requirements, how to apply, and what to do if denied.

What Are Disability Benefits in New Jersey?

Disability benefits are cash payments that you can use for anything you want or need. Unlike some benefits programs, there are no specific guidelines on how you must spend the money.

Disability benefits are a saving grace for those who can’t work and provide for themselves. However, the government won’t give you benefits just because you ask for them. You’ll need to meet strict eligibility requirements, as outlined below.

Eligibility Criteria for Disability Benefits in New Jersey

doctor holding and explaining CT scan result to patient

To qualify for disability benefits in New Jersey, you must meet medical, financial, residency, and work history requirements. Let’s go over each of these in more detail.

Medical Eligibility Requirements

In New Jersey, you can claim benefits for various physical and mental disabilities. Cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia are examples of conditions that would qualify.

Your condition must prevent you from working, and you must prove that you can’t transition to other work because of your condition. Additionally, medical providers must expect your disability to last for at least one year or result in death.

Work History and Employment Criteria

If you’re applying for SSDI, you’ll need sufficient work credits to qualify. You accrue work credits for every year of employment, and you can earn up to four credits per year.

To qualify, you usually need 40 credits, at least 20 of which you must have earned in the past 10 years. The Social Security Administration (SSA) might approve you with fewer credits if you’re young.

Income and Financial Eligibility

To qualify for SSI benefits, you must earn less than $1,971 per month (this limit increases a bit for couples). You also can’t have more than $2,000 in assets ($3,000 for couples). Assets include bank accounts, stocks, bonds, property, and life insurance.

SSDI has no asset limitations or income requirements.

Residency Requirements

You must reside within the U.S. to receive SSDI and SSI. If you’re applying for state-specific benefits, you must live in New Jersey for most of the year.

Types of Disability Benefits Available in New Jersey

man filling temporary disability insurance claim

There are several types of disability programs available in New Jersey. Below, learn the differences to help you decide which to apply for.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI is ideal for people who can’t work for a year or longer because of their disability. Typically, you can’t claim benefits for partial or short-term disabilities.

Unlike some other disability programs, SSDI has work requirements. The SSA will deny your application if you don’t have enough work credits.

Your benefit amount depends on your work history. The SSA will consider your average lifetime earnings (adjusted for inflation), your age, whether you care for minor children, and other factors. The maximum benefit amount for SSDI is $3,822 per month in 2024.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is ideal for:

  • People who are 65+
  • People who are blind or disabled
  • People with limited income and resources

Unlike SSDI, SSI doesn’t have work requirements, but it does have resource requirements. To qualify, you must have less than $2,000 in assets ($3,000 for a couple).

In 2024, the maximum benefit amount is $943 per month for individuals and $1,415 per month for couples.

State Disability Benefits Programs

New Jersey offers two state-specific disability programs: NJ WorkAbility and NJ ABLE.

NJ WorkAbility is for disabled people who were denied Medicaid benefits over income. To qualify, you must:

  • Be aged 16 to 64
  • Work full- or part-time and provide proof of employment
  • Meet income and asset requirements
  • Be determined as disabled by the SSA or the Division of Medical Assistance & Health Services Disability Review Team

NJ ABLE allows disabled people to save for disability-related expenses via tax-advantaged savings accounts. Qualifying does not prevent you from claiming SSI, SSDI, or Medicaid benefits.

To qualify, you must have become disabled prior to 26 years of age. You must also meet one of these criteria:

  • You’re eligible for SSDI or SSI
  • You are legally blind
  • You have a severe disability and a written diagnosis from a doctor

Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI)

If you’re temporarily disabled because of a non-work-related injury, you can apply for this short-term disability program, which provides benefits for up to 26 weeks. To qualify, you must have paid into your employer’s TDI program. Per the New Jersey Division of Temporary Disability, you must also:

  • Have worked at least 20 weeks out of the year
  • Earned at least $238 per week or a combined total of $14,200 for the year (income requirements increase annually)

How Can You Apply for Disability Benefits in New Jersey?

client submitting document to the lawyer

If you’re unsure how to apply for disability benefits in New Jersey, that’s understandable. With so many programs, each with its own requirements, it’s tough to know where to turn.

Below, you’ll find general instructions on how to file a claim.

Check Eligibility

Before applying, you must confirm that you’re eligible. There’s little point in applying for a program if you don’t meet its requirements.

You can check your eligibility here:

Gather Documents

Next, you’ll need to gather documents that prove your eligibility. The documents you’ll need depend on the program you’re applying to.

Documents you may need include:

  • Your birth certificate
  • A copy of your driver’s license or other government-issued ID
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship (if not born in the U.S.)
  • Medical evidence of your injury or illness, such as doctor’s notes and test results
  • An Adult Disability Report
  • Proof of income and resources
  • W-2 forms or self-employment tax forms for the previous year
  • Proof of workers’ compensation benefits (if applicable)
  • U.S. military discharge papers (for those who served before 1968)

Choose Program and Apply

Pick the program you want and apply. All of the above programs allow you to apply online. You may also be able to complete your application in person or over the phone.

Complete Application and Submit

During the application process, be sure to provide all the required information. If you leave anything out, the agency might deny your application, requiring you to file an appeal.

If the application asks for documents, such as proof of your disability, attach those as well. Some programs might require you to mail hard copies of documents instead of submitting them online.

Follow Up and Appeal If Needed

Approval times for disability benefits can vary widely depending on the program. You might wait for several months for a response.

If an agency denies your application, you can appeal the decision with the help of a disability benefits attorney.

How Much Are Disability Benefits in New Jersey?

New Jersey TDI pays 85% of your average weekly wage, up to $1,055 per week in 2024. The state adjusts the maximum benefit amount annually.

In 2024, SSI pays up to $943 per month for individuals and $1,414 per month for married couples.

SSDI pays a maximum of $3,822 per month in 2024.

Are Disability Benefits in New Jersey Taxable?

New Jersey TDI benefits are subject to federal income tax. Each year, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development will send you a 1099-G form showing benefits paid and income tax withheld.

SSI benefits are not taxable. SSDI benefits may be taxable in some situations.

You might have to pay taxes on your SSDI benefits if you have income from other sources or if your spouse earns income. The IRS will tax your benefits when one-half of benefits, plus all other income, exceeds one of these thresholds:

  • Married filing jointly: $32,000
  • Married filing separately, qualifying widow(er), single, or head of household: $25,000
  • Married filing separately but lived with one’s spouse during the tax year: $0

Can You Receive Other Benefits While Receiving Disability Benefits?

It’s possible to qualify for SSI and SSDI and receive benefits for both simultaneously. However, you can’t collect the maximum benefit amount for each program if you’re on both.

How Long Does Approval Take?

Approval times vary by program. For SSDI, it usually takes six to eight months. SSI approvals typically happen in three to five months. NJ TDI approval takes about three to five months as well.

SSI and SSDI also have waiting periods for benefits. For SSI, the waiting period is just one week. SSDI has a much longer waiting period of five months.

Need Help Applying for Benefits? Call Sadaka Law

If the SSA has denied your disability claim, reach out to Sadaka Law at (800) 810-3457 for assistance with disability benefits in New Jersey.



Principal & Founder
This article was written by Mark Sadaka, a seasoned trial lawyer in nationally significant cases. He fearlessly champions clients impacted by fatal or severe injuries caused by others or corporations. Renowned for his expertise in complex litigation, he's featured in books, sought after by media for interviews, and a highly sought speaker. Notably, he exclusively represents individuals facing life-changing injuries or substantial financial losses.

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