It’s been a while since you sent in your application for NJ Social Security benefits, and you finally received a response. The Disability Determination Services has completed its review of your case and has sent you a decision—but it’s not the answer you were hoping for. What should you do now?

Your next move depends on DDS’s initial determination of your disability status. The decision is based on whether or not you are disabled based on Social Security criteria. There are only three possible outcomes for medical determinations:

  • Fully favorable – A fully favorable decision means that SSA has agreed that you qualify as disabled and that you are eligible for benefits as of the date that your disability began. Additionally, if you filed for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your SSI payments will begin on the date of your approved injury.
  • Partially favorable – This means that either 1) SSA agrees that you are currently disabled, but believe your disability started after the date you claim on your application, or 2) SSA agrees that you were disabled in the past but are no longer disabled.
  • Unfavorable – The SSA believes that you do not meet the necessary disability requirements to be eligible for benefits.

Along with the decision letter, you will receive a form letter telling you how you can appeal if you disagree with the determination. If your determination was unfavorable, you should always appeal the decision, as many applications are rejected or denied the first time.

However, if your determination is partially favorable, you must think carefully before filing an appeal because the SSA will revisit the entire decision. On one hand, you may gain retroactive payments and medical benefits for your injury; on the other hand, you may be found “not disabled” upon reexamination of your case.

You should always consult with a trusted benefits attorney before deciding whether or not you should appeal a disability decision. If you were denied benefits for a permanent disability in New Jersey, Manfred F. Ricciardelli, Jr. can explain your rights at no cost to you. Call us today at 877.360.0183 to get answers to all of your legal questions in your FREE consultation, or click the link above to download our FREE electronic book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers Comp Guide.

Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer