If your family member sustained an injury or illness that resulted in a disability, your household may be suffering financially from the loss of the income. You may also be struggling under the weight of caregiving responsibilities. According to AARP’s Caregiving in the U.S. update, in the past year, 1 in 5 American adults have served as caregivers, and only 61% of those caring for family members also work outside the home.
It is worth checking whether your family member may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits to help cover financial needs.
According to the Social Security Administration, a disabled person must have a work record in jobs that Social Security covers. The disabling medical condition must meet the official definition of a disability, as well. The SSA generally awards benefits in cases where a person expects to be or has been out of work because of the disability for at least 12 months.
Perhaps your loved one already applied for benefits and received a denial. This is not the end of the road: The SSA has an appeals process. These include the following four levels:
- Requesting reconsideration from a different SSA representative
- Requesting that an administrative law judge hear the case
- Requesting that the Appeals Council review the case
- Taking the matter to a federal court
You must begin with reconsideration and move through the steps in this order. Any denials will come with an explanation, so you and your loved one can gather more evidence or provide information that addresses those matters.
Other options for financial assistance may also be available to you as caregiver and to your loved one, depending on the circumstances.