What Is the Process of Applying for Disability Benefits?


The application process requires applicants to complete lengthy forms documenting their employment history and medical conditions, retrieve medical records, and comply with Social Security Administration (SSA) administrative rules and regulations.  The process has multiple deadlines, formalities, and other pitfalls. Many valid applications face rejection due to documentation errors and other issues.

Being declared disabled by your doctor is not enough to get you approval for disability benefits by the SSA. A New Jersey Disability Attorney can demonstrate to the SSA that your disability causes enough workplace limitations to restrict you from performing even easier tasks.

The Social Security Disability Application Process In New Jersey

Generally, there are three stages in the application for Social Security security disability benefits:

  • The Initial Application stage
  • The Reconsideration stage
  • The Hearings stage

Initial Application

The disability application and other related forms ask for a description of the person’s impairment(s), treatment sources, and other information that relates to the disability.

SSA Field Offices in New Jersey 

The various SSA field offices are responsible for verifying non-medical eligibility requirements, which include age, employment, marital status, or Social Security coverage information of a claimant. The field offices then send the case to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office to review the claimant’s medical evidence. 

Whether you’re checking on the status of your disability application, hoping to apply for benefits by phone, or trying to schedule an appointment,  the local field offices are in a better position to help. 

Disabled residents of New Jersey can apply for Social Security disability benefits in person at a local SSA field office, by telephone, or by filing online.

The New Jersey Division of Disability Services (NJ DDS) 

In New Jersey, the NJ DDS makes disability determinations for New Jersey residents who apply for the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) two disability programs  – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

The NJ DDS makes the initial determination on whether the applicant is disabled or blind.

The NJ DDS may obtain medical evidence from the applicant’s healthcare providers first. If that evidence is unavailable or insufficient to decide on, the NJ DDS will arrange for a consultative examination (CE). 

When you apply for disability benefits, an NJ DDS examiner will evaluate your medical evidence to determine if you are eligible for disability benefits. You will receive an approval notification 

if the SSA finds you eligible. The SSA will then compute your benefits and you will start receiving them monthly.

The Reconsideration Stage

If the NJ DDS office denies your application, you have sixty days to file an appeal. This appeal is called the Request for Reconsideration. The NJDDS offices are also responsible for making the medical determination on your Request for Reconsideration. However, a different examiner will decide your Reconsideration request. 

The Office Of Hearing Operations (OHO) – The Appeals Process

Applicants who receive a denial during the reconsideration determination may request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The applicant may submit additional evidence to the ALJ. If an ALJ requires additional evidence, the OHO coordinates with the NJ DDS to obtain it.  However, the OHO may also contact medical sources directly for additional evidence. 

Disability Attorneys Improving Your Chances Of Winning Approval For Social Security Disability Benefits

The disability benefits application demands lots of paperwork. At Chermol And Fishman, our experience in filing disability claims enables us to file your claim correctly the first time. Our office staff can help you prepare all the information needed for the forms, including your medical records, job history, and disability-related reports. 

Many people think hiring a disability attorney will cost too much money. The attorney fees are set and capped by law and are also contingency-based. An attorney receives a payment only if they win your case. 

The lawyers at our New Jersey disability law firm know how to work with medical providers to obtain the necessary evidence to support your claim. 

If a disability prevents you from working, contact a disability attorney at Chermol And Fishman to learn more about your options for pursuing a Social Security Disability claim in New Jersey. 


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