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New Jersey has largest average Social Security benefits payout

When New Jersey residents think about social security, they most likely think about retirement benefits provided by social security. However, a mental illness disability, an injury, or an illness-related disability can also qualify a person to receive social security benefits.

Recent data published by the Social Security Administration provided details on who is receiving benefits, how much is being received and for how long the program is currently funded. Overall, the data showed that in seventeen different states, more than one fifth of the population receives benefits. The benefits described by the data included not only retirement and survivors' benefits but also disability benefits. Although seniors are generally the population most likely to receive benefits -- with 70 percent of people over the age of 65 receiving benefits-many others qualify, as well. Just over a fourth of all social security benefits distributed in December 2013 were not retirement-related. New Jersey was noted as the state where recipients receive the greatest monthly payment, an average of $1,326 per month.

In addition to retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration provides benefits to people who are unable to work due to a disability. What many people may not know is that certain mental illnesses or conditions could qualify them to receive benefits. In order to be recognized by the Social Security Disability, a mental illness must fit into the definition of a behavioral or psychological disorder that affects a person's ability to work safely and accurately.

A medical evaluation may be necessary to establish that a qualifying medical condition exists, but many mental and emotional disorders can qualify. Examples include severe phobias that are specifically related to certain job requirements, schizophrenia and other delusional disorders, PTSD, OCD and related disorders, major clinic depression and bipolar disorder, among others. People who are experiencing difficulty at work or performing standard job functions may want to speak with an experienced attorney about the possibility of applying for benefits. It is often important and helpful to file for benefits as soon as possible after problems or issues become noticeable.

Source: Washington Post, "More than a fifth of the population in 17 states received Social Security benefits last year," Niraj Chokshi, July 28, 2014

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