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What Benefits Are Available if You’re Disabled by a Non-Work-Related Injury or Illness?

What Benefits Are Available if You’re Disabled by a Non-Work-Related Injury or Illness?

Being unable to work and support your family due to an injury or ailment can be financially devastating. If your condition arises from an accident or exposure that occurred at your place of employment, you may receive workers’ compensation benefits over a short or long term. But there are also resources available for disabilities arising from non-work-related causes.

New Jersey and federal programs offer a range of benefits, depending on the nature of your disability and its duration. Here is a breakdown:

Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) — This is a New Jersey state-funded program that provides cash benefits to people who miss work due to a non-work-related illness, injury or other disability. To qualify for TDI, you must meet these requirements:

  • You must have worked at least 20 weeks, earning at least $283 weekly in the past year (known as the base year).
  • You must be unable to work for at least one week, as certified by your doctor.
  • You must claim benefits within 5 days of your disability starting.

Under TDI, you can receive up to 85 percent of your average weekly wage, capped at $1,055 per week, for a maximum of 26 weeks. If you are currently working, your wages can’t be over $1,310 a month.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) — This federal program provides monthly benefits to an individual who is unable to work due to a severe disability that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. You can collect the same amount as you would at full retirement age. The maximum SSDI benefit in 2024 is $3,822 per month, but the average is $1,537 per month. To qualify, you must have:

  • Paid FICA taxes (or self-employment taxes) for several years
  • Demonstrated a medical condition that prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity
  • Worked long enough in covered employment to earn sufficient Social Security credits

If you’re found to be disabled, your family members might also receive SSDI benefit.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — This federal program provides financial assistance to individuals with limited income and resources who are either 65 or older or have a disability. You must:

  • Have limited income and resources
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident for at least five years
  • Meet the disability criteria, which have stricter income and resource limits

Because disability benefits represent large payouts, insurance companies are often eager to negotiate settlements. However, any settlement must take into account your future medical needs and provide you with sufficient support. You should not negotiate with an insurance company without the assistance of a qualified New Jersey disability benefits attorney.

If you’ve suffered a disabling injury, you can trust Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq. in Succasunna to fight for your benefits. For more than 25 years, I have delivered positive results for workers in Sussex and Morris counties. Call 973-940-8970 or contact me online to schedule an appointment.