Disability insurance, and federal coverage for disability, is a topic which is shrouded in mystery for many people. Claims are often denied. Coverage is sometimes withheld. Proof of disability can be challenging to provide, or to update.
Here are ten things you should understand about Social Security Disability Insurance
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are different.
SSDI is available to you if you have worked for a long time and have paid Social Security taxes. SSI is for people with limited resources and low incomes. Learn more about the differences between SSDI and SSI.
- If you apply for Social Security disability coverage, it does not begin until the sixth full month of disability.
Your first Social Security benefit could arrive — the earliest possible it could arrive — in the sixth full month after the date which your disability began. That date will be determined during your application process.
- The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a Disability Starter Kit, with information about the documents and information you need to apply.
The Disability Starter Kit contains a fact sheet which addresses questions many applicants have. It also contains a worksheet for gathering the necessary information, and a checklist of the documents and details you will need for the application.
- “The Blue Book” refers to a document that covers the evaluation required to prove disability.
This publication, which the SSA updates frequently, is officially called “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security.” It is a list of impairments which can qualify you to apply for disability benefits. Only certain criteria will qualify a claimant for coverage. Whatever condition applies to, you will need to find the Blue Book’s corresponding code (or codes) for that condition or impairment.
- Children can apply for SSI or SSDI payments or benefits.
This document, “Benefits For Children With Disabilities,” goes into details surrounding those applications. It also discusses the differences between Medicaid and Medicare, and provides information about employment support options for young people with disabilities.
- Your family members, if they are dependent upon your work for their care, may also qualify for benefits.
- One in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching the age of 67.
The disabilities they suffer may be temporary. But more than 25% of today’s 20-year-olds can expect to miss at least one year of work due to a disabling condition, before they reach the current retirement age.
- The most common reason for short-term disability claim is pregnancy.
One quarter of disability claims are filed by pregnant women. The second most common reason is a musculoskeletal disorder — particularly those affecting the spine, knees, hips, or shoulders.
- Medical bills are the number one reason for bankruptcy filings in the US.
According to the Council for Disability Awareness, 26% of US bankruptcy filings were due to medical bills. The council also found that cancer patients were 2.65 times more likely to file for bankruptcy than people without cancer. Younger cancer patients — those under age 50 — had the highest bankruptcy rates.
- Less than half of SSDI claims are approved.
Between 2006 and 2015, only 34% of SSDI claims had their applications approved. 23% passed the initial application process, and an additional 11% became approved later, after passing through an appeals process or “reconsideration.” As of 2017, more than one million SSDI claim applications were stuck in a backlog of appeals.
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