Are you a New Jersey employee who stopped working recently due to health issues or an injury unrelated to your job? Then there are 3 different New Jersey disability options that may help you and your family out financially.
New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Insurance program may provide cash benefits to you and your family to help get you through this difficult time. These benefits are available to help pay rent or cover your mortgage and provide for the necessities of life while you recover from your injury or illness.
Your healthcare provider will need to certify how long they anticipate you will need to recover from your medical condition. Benefits are paid out to approved claimants for up to a maximum of 26 weeks.
Worried about COVID?
If your healthcare provider certifies that 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 2022, the maximum weekly benefit rate is $993/week.
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. For 2022, workers contribute 0.14% on the first $151,900 in covered wages earned during this calendar year. The maximum worker contribution for 2022 is $212.66.
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.
Who is Eligible for New Jersey Disability Benefits?
To qualify for TDI in New Jersey in 2022, you must have worked 20 weeks. Also, you had to earn at least $240 weekly, or have earned a combined total of $12,000 in the base year.
To have your claim approved for New Jersey TDI, you need to have paid into the program through your employment and meet minimum gross earnings requirements. TDI is available to most New Jersey workers.
Exemptions include federal government employees and some local government employees like school district employees, out-of-state employees, faith-based organization employees, and workers that are not technically employees (such as properly classified 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 be eligible for benefits.
How to Apply for Short-Term Disability Benefits in New Jersey:
- Create an online account on New Jersey state’s website.
- Read and begin the application.
- Print instruction forms and give them to your healthcare provider.
- Receive your debit card by mail. Don’t use it yet; it has no funds when you first receive it.
- Await your approval decision.
- The state of New Jersey will fund your card two days after approving your application.
- Visit the state’s website to check your claim.
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 healthcare provider believes it will prevent you from working at least one year.
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 if you stop paying premiums 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 applying for state New Jersey TDI disability 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 2022 is $3,345/month. The average monthly SSDI benefit for disabled workers nationwide is $1,358/month. 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 reach full retirement age. 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 pay amounts vary up to a max of $841/month per person or $1,261/month per couple.
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 $1,350/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 applying for SSI.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
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. Have you already been denied benefits? A New Jersey disability lawyer can review your claim and fix any mistakes before you appeal.
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler 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 lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.