If you become unable to work because of an accident or because of medical conditions, there is help available. You probably know that there are different programs that offer benefits, but you may not be aware of the differences or how they work. In short, there are long term disability benefits as well as Social Security disability benefits. You may be able to collect long term disability and Social Security disability at the same time.
Long-Term Disability and SSDI
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is very different than long-term disability insurance. If you are permanently disabled or if you are suffering from a long-term disability, you may not understand how these two programs differ. You need to understand the differences and how they can affect you.
Having long-term disability insurance can be beneficial because being approved for SSDI benefits can be a long process. It is usually easier to get approved for long-term disability benefits than it is to gain SSDI approval. You can be receiving long-term disability benefits while your SSDI claim is being processed.
The average SSDI claim can take five months to get approval. The first six months that you are disabled are not eligible for SSDI benefits. The length of time that you must be disabled before you can receive long-term disability benefits are dependent upon your insurance policy’s terms.
Having long-term disability insurance is a wise decision since the claims process for SSDI can take a while and there is a six-month waiting period during which you are not eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. Long-term disability insurance can help you financially during the time as you are transitioning because you are unable to work.
You may need the financial support to help you with your living expenses, and to take care of your family’s needs. Therefore, you should be aware of the different kinds of disability benefits available so you can get the assistance that you need.
Long-Term Disability Insurance
An insurance policy that your buy to protect yourself and your family if you become unable to work for a long time, long-term disability insurance is usually purchased through your employer. If your employer does not offer disability insurance, you can purchase it yourself through an insurance agent. Sometimes you may purchase short-term and long-term disability insurance.
If that is the case, the long-term disability policy will take over after your short-term disability plan has maxed out, which is usually from three to six months. This is dependent upon your policy and if you have both, short-term and long-term disability insurance coverage.
Most often, a long-term disability insurance plan will pay you about half of your working salary. You can purchase a plan that will pay as much as 60-65% of your working salary, but that varies on the insurer and your work duties. When you purchase long-term disability insurance, it is important that you understand the terms, including the premiums, the length of time that it will pay, and how it handles pre-existing conditions. Long-term disability can pay out anywhere from a year until you reach retirement age, as this is dependent upon the policy. You need to make sure you are aware of all these terms when you purchase a disability insurance policy.
Social Security Disability Insurance
SSDI is a disability program that is government funded. You pay Social Security taxes, which pays into this program. If you become unable to work because of a medical condition and you meet the requirements set by the SSA, you can start receiving monthly disability benefits after the six-month waiting period, which is based on the date you are determined to have become disabled.
To be eligible to receive SSDI, you must have worked enough to earn sufficient work credits. The amount of your monthly benefits is dependent upon the work credits you earned and the amount of your earnings from employment.
In order for you to be approved for monthly SSDI benefits, you have to meet the strict criteria set forth by the SSA to be disabled per the government agency’s guidelines. This means you must be able to prove that your condition prevents you from being able to perform any kind of work in the national economy’s current state.
This can be much more complicated that proving you are disabled to receive long-term disability insurance benefits. For SSDI benefits, you must be fully disabled, which means you cannot perform any kind of work duties at all because of your medical condition. There are specific criteria set for different disabling conditions in the Blue Book, which is the SSA medical guide that is used for disability determination.
How Social Security Disability Benefits Impact Long-Term Disability Benefits
It is possible to receive long-term disability insurance benefits and SSDI at the same time. Some long-term disability insurance policies even require that you apply for SSDI benefits after a specific timeframe so you may be able to continue receiving benefits. After you have been approved to receive SSDI benefits, your long-term disability insurance provider will pay you the difference between your SSDI benefits and your insurance policy amount. The amount of the offset depends on your specific long-term disability plan’s terms and the amount of SSDI benefits that you receive each month.
If you have long-term disability insurance coverage and you are receiving benefits because you are disabled, you should consult with a disability attorney or advocate before you apply for SSDI. An attorney can help you understand how SSDI will impact your long-term disability benefits. Your attorney will also let you know if your long-term disability carrier will offset any back payment of benefits that you may be entitled to through the SSA for your disability benefits. An attorney can help you through the claims process and help you get all your documentation so you can properly and adequately support your disability benefits claim.