An estimated nine million Americans rely on receiving monthly Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits to be able to support themselves after they suffer disabling injuries that make it impossible for them to work. Qualifying to receive these benefits is not an easy task.
One of the first steps you’ll want to take if you have suffered a disabling injury that prevents you from working is to find out whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) shares your and your doctor’s perspective that you have a disability. In most cases, it considers any ailments that are expected to stick around for at least a full year and perhaps ultimately result in your death.
In order to qualify for SSDI, you must have made FICA tax contributions through paycheck deductions during five of the last ten years. You also must not have yet reached retirement age. That currently hovers around age 66 or 67.
If you’ve suffered a debilitating injury, then it’s important that you not wait before you apply to receive SSDI. The main reason you don’t want to procrastinate is because processing your application can take as long as six months.
To make matters worse, of all the applications the SSA receives each year, they only approve a third of them. If you have to appeal the decision in your case, then it could take as long as two years to get an administrative hearing set in your matter.
You’ll probably want to review your finances or meet with a financial planner as you’re awaiting word about whether you’ll be extended benefits. The amount you ultimately receive from the SSA is likely not enough to live on long term.
It’s also important that you continue to maintain your health insurance even if it seems cost prohibitive to do so. Doing so will allow you to continue to see doctors while you’re awaiting word on your claim. If you were to lose this coverage, it could also be financially crippling to foot medical bills.
Applying for and qualifying for SSDI can be an involved process. Whether you’re applying for it for your first time or you’ve had previous requests denied and are considering filing an appeal, a St. Louis Social Security Disability attorney can provide guidance.
Source: Kiplinger, “5 Tips on Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits,” Michael Stein, accessed May 25, 2018