The Conundrum For The Newly Disabled
What happens if an injury or disease causes you to lose your ability to work the job you have had? You would just draw Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), right? I mean, you have worked since you were 14, and paid in tons of wages you did without, for just such a time, right?
Wrong. The SSDI process is much more time-consuming than you might expect. On average, it takes two appeals and hearing—often a total of 18-24 months!
How do you make ends meet?
Well, if that injury or disease causes you to lose your ability to work the job you have had, and there is a delay in getting SSDI, you would just draw State Unemployment Benefits, right? I mean, you have worked since you were 14, and paid in tons of wages you did without, for just such a time, right?
Unemployment is a state program for people who expect to be able to work if they can just get hired somewhere. SSDI Disability benefits on the other hand are federal and only for people who cannot work anywhere doing almost anything for at least a year or more.
These programs fundamentally contract one another, so if you are ever approved for disability benefits and your recently received Unemployment benefits, you may have to reimburse the Unemployment payments you received, or even have that period deducted from your benefits period.
What if I do find some work? With Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you cannot earn more than what is considered “substantial gainful activity” which is currently $1,180 per month, unless the job is documented to be a “make work” job given you by a friend, family member or such. (For example, your favorite Uncle may pay you a week’s wages just to organize his files and tools on Fridays.)
There may be other benefits, while you wait, but they are very limited. The Tennessee Family Assistance Service Center: 1-866-311-4287 is the place to start.
You may have to borrow against a home, or cash out a 401k or life insurance plan, sell cars, tools and guns, or just rely on family and friends.
Worse yet, in order to win your case, you need medical opinions to win your case, but you will likely have no medical insurance once you are let go. If you continue to work, you are likely ineligible, but if you quit you likely cannot afford to “cobra out” your health insurance.
It takes 24 months drawing Social Security Disability benefits to get your Medicare, unless you are 65 or hit a rare exception.
Additionally, there is a five-month waiting period after a beneficiary is determined to be disabled before a beneficiary begins to collect Social Security Disability benefits, with rare exceptions.
Not surprisingly, this process makes people poorer. Annual Income of Medicare beneficiaries: with 25% below $14,000 a full 50% less than $24,150.
The Catch-22s abound for the disabled.
Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in motorcycle, truck and car accidents, disability and medical malpractice. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.