Q. I was discharged on workers’ compensation in May 2020. Workers’ compensation closed my case in January 2021. At that time, I collected unemployment because my employer terminated me. Now I have a back injury. What is available to me: temporary disability from New Jersey or the federal government or is there another resource considering the last time I was actively employed was May 2020?
A. We are sorry to hear of your injuries.
And we’re glad you asked because these programs can be complicated and very specific to a person’s situation.
Since your workers’ compensation case was closed in January 2021, it’s unlikely you’ll be eligible for New Jersey’s temporary disability insurance benefits, said Cynthia Aiken, Certified Financial Planner at Peapack Private Wealth. Management in Westminster.
She said that to qualify for New Jersey’s temporary disability in early 2022, you must have worked at least 20 weeks earning at least $240 per week or a combined total of $12,000 during the period of the October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021. That’s like even if you weren’t employed during that time, Aiken said.
However, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
“The SSDI program pays benefits if you’ve worked long enough, recently enough, and paid social security taxes on your earnings,” Aiken said. “To be eligible for benefits, your medical condition must meet Social Security’s definition of a disability and should prevent you from working for at least twelve months.”
No benefits are paid for partial disability or short-term disability, she said.
Eligibility requirements depend on your age, income and other factors. So check the Social Security website for more specific details.
Send your questions to [email protected].
Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboos column for NJ Advance Media and is the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Follow NJMoneyHelp on Twitter @NJMoneyHelp. To find NJMoneyHelp on Facebook. Sign up for NJMoneyHelp.comit’s weekly e-newsletter.