The way our generation is going today, the chances that we will all be able to work until we hit retirement is quite low. The idea here is to not discourage you but to help you face the harsh reality of life that can often throw curve balls at us. Disability is one such curveball that no one prepares you for. On the bright side, you have got social security.
Now, you might assume that social security is a program to do with providing income for old and retired U.S citizens, but there is more to it. There is another side to this where you will be given disability benefits depending on your work History. This benefit then becomes one way of earning an income that is not affected by things like inflation if and when there comes a day where you cannot work anymore.
The types of SSDI to look out for:
- Social Security Disability Insurance is specially designed for workers who become disabled. This program provides them income that they lose due to the disability.
- The Supplemental Security Income is more to do with the need of the worker rather than work History. Disability is not the primary criteria for this program.
Eligibility criteria for Social Security Disability Insurance:
- Qualifying for an SSDI is not very complex, except there are clearly stated criteria to be met to reap benefits from this program.
- To begin with, the place you work at should have covered you (the employee) with social security for enough time.
- There is a test that looks at the duration of your work period and the minimum requirement for each person depends on their age.
- If you are below the age of 28 and have become disabled, then you are required to have worked for one and a half years.
- If you are disabled after the age of 60, then the requirement of the employment period extends to nine years and more.
- There is also an additional test that looks at your recent work. The requirement is that you need to have worked for a duration based on your age, as stated before, right before you became disabled for you to pass the criteria.
- Needless to say, the most important criteria is that you must be disabled. Though the SSDI benefits are also given to employees who are not able to work due to medical complications that have lasted a year and more or have resulted in the employee’s untimely demise.
- There will also be a verification to ensure that you are not able to work entirely because SSDI does not cover partial disability or disability caused by accidents that result in temporary disability.
How much monetary assistance to expect?
The way this works is similar to how retirement benefits are provided to employees who hit retirement. The average taxed earnings will be used to come up with the sum for your social security disability insurance benefits. Now, if you were to compare, the amount you would have received after completing retirement age would be more, however, the difference is not blaring. The only reason the comparison is even made and retirement benefits win is because employees have had the chance to earn up to the end of their employment, unlike with employees who became disabled midway.
For disabled employees, the disadvantage is that they pause work during the peak years of earning and that makes the SSDI benefit calculations lower. For an estimation of how much you might receive through SSDI, take a look at your latest social security statement. It has got enough information on Medicare and SSDI benefits and the latest updates as to what to expect each year.
The application process:
- The disability claim process is not very intricate, applications can be found online but you will need to have a few documents and details in order.
- You need to have your birth certificate, social security number, medical details with full History updates post disability (your standardized prescription, doctor and hospital names, lab results, scans and other relevant medical records.)
- Concerning your work, you need to have your most recent tax return and proof of work history.
- Apart from this main application form, there are a few follow-up forms that need filling as well. There might arise a requirement for your healthcare providers to also fill some forms for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to take a call on whether you meet their disability criteria.
- The whole ordeal might take some time to go through. From the application to validating the proof of documents is a few months’ journeys, at best. The disability evaluation is a careful process and that explains the time taken. If you are disabled, ensure you exercise on your rights to the benefits as soon as possible by applying for the SSDI promptly.
Some additional benefits to keep in mind:
- Family can also reap the benefits of the SSDI as well. It is not restricted to those who do not work only.
- If you have a spouse who is required to be at least 62 years of age, they may apply.
- If the said spouse does not meet the above requirement but cares for your child who is disabled and is below the age of 16 years, they may apply.
- Children under the age of 18 may apply.
- Disabled children above the age of 18 and below the age of 22 may also apply.
In cases where multiple family members fit the criteria of getting benefits, there is only so much money that will be paid out based on each employee’s record. It is important to keep this in mind while applying. SSDI benefits are valuable when one becomes disabled, but it is also recommended to still look at other disability income insurance to assure financial safety and that your family’s day-to-day needs are met.