If you have, or someone you know has, suffered from a disability recently but not applied for benefits under the Social Security disability benefits program, you need to consider it.
Social Security Disability Insurance is a Federal program that provides financial benefits to people with disabilities. Under this program, disabled people and authorized members of their family receives benefits. As the name suggests, this program provides financial aid to people with disabilities.
You may be tempted to just shrug it all off, citing employer programs and other insurance programs that provide disability benefits as well. But there are distinct benefits to the Social Security disability program which you may not get elsewhere. However, to qualify for this program, people need to have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a period of time.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are funded by payroll taxes and the program is managed by the Social Security Administration. As an income supplementing program for people physically unable to seek employment, it provides ¬assistance on a temporary or permanent basis, depending on the disability.
Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits
Individuals are granted benefits as per their eligibility. Medical information is collected to determine whether the individual fits the definition of disability as defined by the Social Security program. Individuals qualify for the program if:
- They are under the age of 65 years.
- They have 20 social security credits accumulated in the last ten years before becoming disabled.
- Their disability prevents them from doing the work they did previously.
- The disability is expected to be terminal or lasting for a year.
- Taking up and adapting to other kinds of work is impossible because of the disability.
- The program assists people by supplementing their income from other sources, including savings and investments and workers’ compensation.
Some of the medical conditions that qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits include certain digestive disorders, mental health conditions, cardiovascular and respiratory problems, immune disorders and endocrine problems like diabetes, etc.
Benefits of SSDI
Now that we are done looking at eligibility for SSDI, let us look at the benefits. At times, the efforts made in applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits may seem too much or even needless, because an employee or an individual has other sources of income or medical insurance coverage as mentioned earlier. However, SSDI benefits go beyond the usual medical insurance advantages. Take a look at these.
- Enhanced Medical Insurance Coverage, including COBRA
COBRA, or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, helps provide group health benefits out of group health plans to those workers who have lost health benefits due to situations like death, disability or reduced work hours, loss of employment or job, divorce, etc. When an employee wins Social Security Disability benefits within the first 18 months of COBRA coverage, they can purchase 11 more months of COBRA. Thus, in all they gain 29 months of health care coverage after the disability. Upon the expiration of the COBRA coverage, the individual is eligible for Medicare coverage which includes hospital and medical benefits. While this may not be applicable to businesses exempt from offering staff COBRA coverage, it helps enhance health insurance coverage for those individuals covered by it.
- Enhanced Retirement Benefits
Qualifying for SSDI benefits leads to a ‘freeze’ being put on the wages as well as Social Security payments. This helps in the sense that benefits in the future are not affected by your disability and the subsequent inability to make payments. Thus, your future benefits will not be reduced.
- Monthly Income Adjusted for Inflation
Most insurance plans do not account or allow for the natural levels of inflation. Social Security Disability benefits, on the other hand, increase as a result of inflation adjustments or rises in the cost-of-living.
Most other future income plans, whether funded by an employer or through an insurance company, do not take inflation into account. If an individual receives $1700 as monthly payments, she or he will continue to get these even after 10 years, regardless of the increase in cost-of-living.
- Tax Benefits
Depending on how long an individual paid for disability benefits, the eventual Social Security Disability benefits will not be taxable.
This advantage is not applicable if the premium for disability benefits was paid by someone else or was paid out of income before tax is paid out.
- Incentivized Employment
When determining disability, the individual is also assessed for the probability of returning to work. There are vocational rehabilitation programs that assist individuals in becoming self-reliant, post-disability. Individuals are also provided with trial periods for these programs. If found to be successful, the individual can return to work with no reduction in the benefits for a period of up to nine months, and an additional three months while their disability is evaluated again. Depending on their condition, and if they fail to earn $500 from their work, they can receive disability benefits on a monthly basis.
Why Contact Professionals?
The onus of proving disability and the continued inability to work or take up another job of a similar kind, lies on the applicant or the individual facing the disability. More applications and claims are rejected than accepted. But a professional who is well-versed with the details can help you prepare a sound case with a winning argument to support it. Contact us now to learn more about applying for disability benefits.
Legal Rights Advocates, PLLC is a law firm that helps clients facing the prospect of physical disability that renders them incapable of working to support themselves and their dependents. Our team of SSDI attorney , over the years, has helped countless clients get benefits that are their rightful due under the Social Security Disability program.
If you are interested in learning more about how to put in a claim for SSDI benefits, call us at (855) 254-7841 for immediate assistance.