Can't work because of a serious disability? Chances are you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which provides regular monthly income to people who can no longer work because of a serious illness or injury. Nearly every working person pays for these benefits through FICA tax deductions, and Allsup, the nation's leading Social Security disability representation company, encourages all wage earners to plan for disability during Disability Insurance Awareness Month.
According to the 2010 Injury Facts of the National Safety Council, 490 Americans become disabled every 10 minutes.
"Experiencing disability can place you in a financial crisis. One of the most important steps you can make is to apply for SSDI as soon as possible," explained Paul Gada, personal finance director for the Allsup Disability Life Planning Center. "This can be a complicated process because it involves documenting your work history and your medical condition. You can make it less stressful by hiring a representative, such as Allsup, to handle those complicated aspects."
Even if someone has a long-term disability (LTD) insurance plan, there are a number of benefits to applying for SSDI. These include regular monthly income, medical benefits through Medicare after 24 months of entitlement to SSDI, prescription drug coverage and benefits for dependents age 18 and under.
SSDI is a payroll tax-funded, federal insurance program. A portion of the FICA taxes you pay are set aside for SSDI (as well as Social Security retirement and Medicare). The Social Security Administration's (SSA) definition of disability may be different from other programs, such as your employer's or a private insurance carrier. Social Security disability benefits are designed to provide you income if you have a severe disability, or terminal illness, that keeps you from working for 12 months or longer. Income will continue unless your condition improves to the point that you can return to work. Once you reach full retirement age - 65 or older - you move from SSDI to Social Security retirement income.
Eligibility for SSDI is based on your inability to work. There are a number of requirements for eligibility, and the SSDI application process can be cumbersome, but it's an option that should not be overlooked.
Choosing an experienced representative such as Allsup to assist with your SSDI application will help you get through the SSDI process with less stress. The SSA denies two out of three applications at the initial level, while Allsup is successful 56 percent of the time at the initial application. Allsup successfully secures SSDI benefits for 98 percent of our customers who complete the SSDI process with us. Our experienced professionals have obtained benefits for more than 130,000 deserving customers since we began business in 1984.
"Many workers do not realize that they have already paid for these benefits through their FICA taxes," Gada said. "It's important to know that applying for SSDI is one of your options for financial security in the event of a severe disability."
With an LTD insurance plan, the premiums are paid either by you or your employer. Sometimes both you and your employer contribute. LTD benefit eligibility usually is subject to review on a continuous basis. The duration of LTD benefits will vary depending on the type of disability.
LTD benefits typically involve two different definitions of disability. The policy will specify a period of time in which an "own occupation" definition of disability applies. You must be disabled and unable to perform your own occupation to quality for the benefits. After the "own occupation" definition time period ends, an "any occupation" definition of disability applies. This means you must be disabled and unable to perform any occupation to continue to qualify for LTD benefits.
A diagnosis of a long-term disability generally means the end of someone's working days, but it's not the end of key decisions related to money and financial income, medical treatment or healthcare. For more information about how Allsup can help you access additional services that accommodate financial and healthcare needs while you are waiting to receive your SSDI benefits, visit www.Allsup.com.
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and workers' compensation services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 600 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, visit www.Allsup.com