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What options are available to a disabled individual in New Jersey?

For individuals struggling with a debilitating condition or illness in New Jersey that prevents the individual from working, every day can be a struggle with seemingly-insurmountable challenges. Beyond trying to cope with the illness or condition, individuals work to figure out how they will provide for themselves and their long-term care. Some residents in New Jersey will be provided for through an ERISA group benefit, others can be covered through Social Security Disability benefits.

However, for those residents in New Jersey that require assistance but have not garnered the requisite work credits necessary for qualification of benefits from Social Security Disability, there is the option of Supplemental Security Income.

SSI became available to residents across the nation 40 years ago. Presently, this program provides benefits for close to 8 million individuals living across the nation, including in New Jersey, that need assistance due to blindness, disability or elderliness.

SSI benefits are often the lone source of income for individuals that are older than 65 years, or suffer with a severe disability and have limited assets. Additionally, children in New Jersey can qualify for receiving SSI benefits. However, this is difficult and most children are denied. Unfortunately, a large number of individuals in need of these types of benefits will see their claim denied.

When an individual relies on the benefits provided through the coverage options listed above, the individual very often cannot afford a denied claim. The process of applying for the benefits can be technical and confusing. An experienced attorney can walk an individual through the process to ensure that they receive the benefits critical to their well being.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Happy Birthday, SSI: A Safety Net for Vulnerable Americans," Donna Meltzer, Oct. 30, 2012

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