What Type Of Disability Benefits Should I Be Applying For?
After a serious injury or a diagnosis with a debilitating illness, it can be difficult to know precisely what steps you should be taking in order to be eligible for disability benefits. In some cases, you may be eligible for private disability benefits because your employer has a private disability insurance policy, but you also may be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Whenever you have sustained an injury that results in a disability, or you have been diagnosed with a disease that prevents you from working, you should seek advice from a national disability benefits lawyer about your options and your eligibility for benefits. For now, we want to say more about general options for obtaining disability benefits following an injury or illness.
Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI)
The Social Security Disability Insurance program, or SSDI benefits, are administered through the SSA. These benefits require you to have a certain length and number of work hours in your employment history in order to be eligible (in other words, you must have worked for a long enough period of time and for a sufficient number of work hours). In addition, you must have a disability that is expected to last 12 months or longer, or to ultimately result in death. To be clear, even if you suffer a serious disabling injury but you are expected to recover after 6 months, you will not be eligible for SSDI benefits. Once you have met the SSA’s requirements, you can apply for benefits with help from your attorney.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income benefits, or SSI benefits, are also administered through the SSA but are based on your income. These are disability benefits for low-income individuals and are not based on your work history. It is important to recognize the clear distinction between SSDI and SSI benefits, particularly for injured workers who will want to seek SSDI benefits (as opposed to SSI benefits).
Private Long-Term Disability Benefits
If you work for an employer and have benefits through the employer—from retirement contributions to life insurance—you may also have long-term disability insurance benefits. If you do have long-term disability coverage through your employer, you may be eligible to receive benefits much more readily than through the SSA. For many long-term disability plans, an employee does not need to meet the same stringent definitions of a disability that the SSA uses in determining whether a person is eligible to receive SSDI benefits. To be sure, even if your disability is not expected to last 12 months or more—as is required by the SSA—you could still be eligible for long-term disability coverage through your employer.
And if you have questions about how long-term disability coverage through your employer will affect the total amount of your SSDI benefits if you are eligible to receive them, you should know that many private disability insurance plans have methods for taking into account Social Security disability payments. However, a national disability benefits attorney can take a closer look at the private long-term disability coverage you have through your employer and can provide you with more detailed information about how payments could impact your SSDI benefits.
Contact Our National Disability Benefits Attorneys Today
Do you need assistance determining your eligibility for benefits? One of the national Social Security disability lawyers at our firm can help. Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Barszcz for more information.