When you become disabled, there are a number of programs you may qualify for to help replace your income. Depending on the circumstances and nature of your disability, you may be able to:
- Qualify for Workers Compensation. This is short term and assumes that you have been injured in the line of work.
- Qualify for Disability Income. This is generally based on insurance programs purchased by you or your employer. These programs vary greatly in how much they will pay you while you are disabled, what conditions qualify you as “disabled” and how long they will continue to pay you after you become disabled. Generally speaking, they will replace up to 80% of your income while you are on disability.
- Recoup your lost income potential in a lawsuit. This is generally only possible when your disability is the direct result of someone else’s negligence.
- Qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Those who are completely disabled (according to the SSA’s definition) may qualify for SSDI, SSI, or other Social Security Disability programs. The approval process can take several months, and often involves an even lengthier appeals process. If you do apply for Social Security disability benefits, it is recommended that you consult a Social Security attorney first.
How Social Security Disability and Long Term Disability Benefits Affect One Another
Some Social Security Disability programs (notably SSI) are affected by other income which you may have. Likewise, the income you are receiving from a Long Term Disability Insurance program from work (or privately owned) may be affected by Social Security Disability benefits you are receiving.
When it comes to Long Term Disability insurance programs, each one is different and is subject to the conditions and clauses in your insurance contract. You may want to have a lawyer, your insurance agent, or your company’s human resources director go over the effects that collecting Social Security Disability benefits will have on your ability to continue collecting Long Term Disability benefits.
In some cases, you may be better off to wait before applying for Social Security Disability benefits. Even in these cases, you should contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to inform them of your intent to file. Doing so establishes a protective filing date. It’s in your best interests to do this as soon as possible because it could affect the amount of back pay you are entitled to from the SSA.
One of the major differences many fail to understand between Social Security Disability and Long Term Disability programs from work or private insurance policies is that the programs often have very different definitions of “complete disability” and different requirements.
Generally speaking, you will qualify for long term disability through your employer or private insurance if your disability causes you to be unable to continue performing the job you had when you became disabled. You will only qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if you are deemed completely unable to continue working in any available job for which you have experience or could reasonably be trained. As you might imagine, most people who apply for SSD benefits are denied.
If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits, consult a Social Security disability lawyer first. Your Social Security Disability lawyer can advise you about the viability of your claim and help you put your claim together in a way that is more likely to be approved. They can also advise you regarding the specifics of how your Long Term Disability and Social Security Disability benefits will affect one another.
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