Becoming disabled is not something that many people plan for and it is usually sudden and unexpected. If you become disabled to the point of no longer being able to support yourself and your family beyond what your short-term disability insurance covers, it can be beneficial to investigate Social Security Disability benefits.
Since there is a six-month waiting period for benefits to apply and applications may be denied, applying early and securing the assistance of an experienced Social Security attorney is highly suggested. If benefits are approved, you may receive retro payment based upon your original application date. Regardless of whether you apply yourself or use the services of a lawyer, you should remember five key things.
Social Security Disability was created to help those who are no longer able to work due to illness or other disabling conditions. In most cases, conditions have to be serious enough that you are unlikely to be able to return to work.
While all applications require documentation and proof of illness or injury, over a hundred conditions make up what is referred to as compassionate allowances. These conditions are usually considered terminal or catastrophic and often receive approval much quicker than less serious conditions.
It is important to remember that health insurance is NOT part of Social Security Disability and that you will still be responsible for obtaining and maintaining health insurance coverage. For those over 65 Medicare is an option, but for those who have not yet reached that magic age, there is a two-year waiting period for Medicare coverage after SSD approval.
Long Term Disability
If you receive long-term disability payments from a private or employer based insurance plan, you should discuss applying for SSD with a representative. Often LTD carriers require that applicants apply for SSD as soon as possible and can even reduce or limit payments if this is not done in a timely manner.
You should also be aware that in most cases, LTD payments are reduced once SSD payments are applied. This means that you would receive your SSD payments and your LTD payments would offset the amount between your SSD and the original LTD payments.
Depending on your situation and family make-up, your wife (if caring for children under sixteen) and minor children may be eligible for family benefits based upon your SSD family maximum. While you can start your SSD application via the Internet, family benefits must be applied for in person.
Supplemental Security Income
SSD is based upon the credits you have earned working over your lifetime. SSI is a need-based program to help those who have lower incomes, usually well below the current poverty level. If you feel that you could qualify and benefit from this program, you should apply once your SSD is approved.
Social Security law is complex and often filled with starts and stops. Having the guidance of an experienced Social Security lawyer like one from Duncan Disability Law SC can help reduce the stress and anxiety related to the application and waiting process.