Your Complete New Jersey Disability Benefits Guide

Disability Benefits

Important: We updated this article in November 2023 to make sure all info below is correct. For many people who cannot work, New Jersey disability and family leave benefits provide a financial lifeline. Since there are 3 different New Jersey disability options, we’ve created this handy overview. You’ll learn about eligibility requirements, benefit amounts, and much more regarding state and federal disability insurance programs below.

Key Takeaways About New Jersey Disability From the State’s TDI Program

The Division of Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance administers the state’s two short-term disability programs. New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program may provide cash benefits to help get you through this difficult time:

  1. These benefits are available for those who cannot work due a non-work-related injury or illness.
  2. Your doctor must certify how long you’ll need to recover from your medical condition.
  3. The TDI program pays benefits for up to a maximum of 26 weeks.

Worried about COVID?

If your healthcare provider certifies you are unable to work because you are at high risk for COVID-19 due to an underlying health condition, you may be eligible for TDI benefits.

Claimants are paid 85% of their average weekly wage, up to the maximum weekly benefit rate set for that calendar year. In 2023, the maximum weekly benefit rate is $1,025.

Who Pays for This Benefit?

Insurance providers pay out the benefits in New Jersey. Most employers in New Jersey are required to have Temporary Disability Insurance for their employees. Both New Jersey workers and employers contribute to the cost of the insurance premiums that fund the temporary disability program.

Workers like yourself automatically contribute through deductions taken out of your paycheck. 
Employers may choose an insurance plan offered by the state or by a private insurance company. Ask your employer which coverage you have, because it’s relevant to how you’ll need to apply for benefits.

TIP: If you are covered by the state plan, apply for TDI benefits online. If you are covered by a private insurance company, your employer will tell you how to file a claim. 

Related: New York Disability: 3 Ways to Get Monthly Benefits

Who is Eligible for the TDI Program’s New Jersey Disability Benefits?

To qualify for TDI in New Jersey in 2023, you must have worked 20 weeks. Also, you had to earn at least $260 weekly, or have earned a combined total of $13,000 in the base year. 

To receive New Jersey TDI benefits, you must have paid into the program through employment and meet minimum gross earnings requirements. TDI is available to most New Jersey workers.

However, the following people are exempt from receiving TDI payments:

  • Federal employees
  • Some local government workers, like school district employees
  • Out-of-state employees
  • Faith-based organization workers
  • Workers that are not technically employees (such as independent contractors)

If you believe you are covered under the program but payroll contributions have not been made, you are still encouraged to apply as it may have been an error. If you became unemployed recently and have a need for TDI, you still may qualify for benefits.

How to Apply for Short-Term New Jersey Disability Benefits

  1. Create an online account on New Jersey state’s website.
  2. Read and begin the application.
  3. Print instruction forms and give them to your healthcare provider.
  4. Receive your debit card by mail. Don’t use it yet; it has no funds when you first receive it.
  5. Await your approval decision.
  6. The state of New Jersey will fund your card two days after approving your application.
  7. Visit the state’s website to check your claim.

How Long Does NJ Temporary Disability Take?

In most cases, you’ll wait 2-6 weeks for a response after you submit your application. Depending on how serious your situation is, you could receive your first payment within a month’s time on your debit card.

Need to follow up on your application for temporary New Jersey disability benefits? Contact the Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance program directly:

  • Call 609-292-7060 Monday through Friday, 8am to 4:30pm
  • TTY/TDD services number is 609-282-8319

Important: Be sure to file your TDI benefits application within 30 days of your first day off work. Any delay in starting your leave or filing your claim could make you ineligible for these payments.

There Are Two More Programs for New Jersey Disability Payments

Additional federal benefit programs run by the Social Security Administration — SSI and SSDI — may pay you benefits. This only applies if your doctor believes you cannot work for at least one year due to a non-work-related injury or illness.

Program #1: Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI

You may qualify for SSDI only if you worked 5 in the last 10 years full-time at a job where you paid FICA payroll taxes. You are eligible for benefits if a doctor says your condition will last at least 12 months or result in death. If your condition improves enough for you to work again in less than 12 months, you cannot qualify.

Some people who don’t get SSDI are service-industry workers, union members, and federal or state employees. If you stopped working more than 5 years ago, you also won’t qualify for SSDI. That’s because your coverage lapses once you stop working for 60 continuous months.

  • You must be 18-65 to get SSDI benefits.
  • If you already get some regular Social Security payments or retired, you also cannot qualify for SSDI.

It takes the SSA 3-5 months to review every SSDI claim. There’s also a required 5-month waiting period before you can get benefits. Thus, we recommend filing for state New Jersey TDI benefits first. The SSA approves 1 in 5 — or 20% — first-time SSDI claims for benefits. In fact, only 35% of all SSDI applicants eventually get benefits.

TIP: To improve your claim, get a New Jersey disability lawyer to help you file. They work on contingency, so you owe $0 until after claim approval.

The maximum amount for the SSDI program in 2024 is $3,822 per month. However, the average monthly SSDI benefit for disabled workers nationwide is $1,537. The SSA figures out your specific benefit amount using your highest average wage earnings over a 35-year period. The SSA re-checks your disability status every 3, 5, or 7 years until you turn 67 years old. Then, SSDI automatically changes over into Social Security retirement payments.

Program #2: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

SSI has the strictest eligibility requirements of any program. But if you didn’t work 5 of the last 10 years full-time or are 65+ with few assets, apply for SSI.

SSI pays up to a max of $943 per month per person or $1,415 per couple in 2024.

SSI medical eligibility requirements are the same as those for SSDI. But again, you must have very low income to qualify. It is also important to have very few financial assets. Your total household income cannot be more than $1,550 per month and you must own less than $2,000 in financial assets and resources (or $3,000 for couples). There are some exceptions to the asset rule: the SSA won’t count your house, the land it sits on, one vehicle, your wedding ring, and some household goods.

If you’re in the process of selling property, speak to a New Jersey disability attorney before you apply for SSI.

Get Free Expert Help Qualifying for Disability Payments

Applying for New Jersey disability benefits can feel difficult at a time when you’re ill or disabled. If you need help, talk to an experienced Social Security attorney for free over the phone. 

Having a New Jersey disability lawyer file your paperwork makes the process much easier. All New Jersey disability lawyers work on contingency, so you’ll pay nothing for claim help now.

Denied benefits? A New Jersey disability lawyer can review your claim and fix any mistakes before you appeal.

Want to speak with a nearby expert for free? Click the button below to start your free online benefits quiz now and see if you may qualify:

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Laura Schaefer is the author ofThe Teashop Girls,The Secret Ingredient, andLittler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at and