If you have a serious illness or injury that makes it virtually impossible to work, you may have some deep concerns about supporting yourself and your family. Still, because you have always worked hard, you may be reluctant to ask for financial help. You may even see Social Security Disability Insurance benefits as a government handout.
SSDI could not be further from a government handout, however. In fact, throughout your working history, you have contributed to the fund that pays SSDI benefits. Simply put, provided you have accrued enough work credits, you have earned the right to apply for benefits under the SSDI program.
You must qualify
The term “handout” implies receiving something for nothing. To secure SSDI benefits, you must have a qualifying disability. Officials at the Social Security Administration examine your medical records and your work abilities to determine whether you qualify. Sometimes, you must appeal a denial and provide even more documentation to win the SSDI benefits you deserve.
You can return to work
Even though you currently may be unable to work, receiving SSDI benefits does not mean you will never work again. If your symptoms improve and you want to try returning to the workforce, the SSDI program allows you to do so. Likewise, if you recover enough to work full time with no restrictions, you can stop collecting SSDI benefits altogether.
It can be embarrassing to ask for a handout, but the SSDI program is not that. Ultimately, because you have contributed to the fund, you should not let your views of government help dissuade you from doing what you need to cope with your illness or injury.