While you probably have a plan in place for financing your retirement, you may not have really considered the potential for winding up disabled before you are old enough or have saved enough to retire.
Most people don’t like to consider the worst-case scenario, and even those who do probably haven’t put much thought into what will happen if they wind up permanently injured because of a workplace accident or car crash. That can leave them unprepared for dealing with the financial reality of a serious medical condition.
Thankfully, Social Security Disability benefits are available for people who can no longer provide for themselves due to a serious injury or medical condition. Applying for these benefits can be stressful, but it can also help you and your loved ones overcome the financial hardship so often associated with a disability that leaves you unable to work.
Social Security Disability stems from your personal contributions
To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you will have had to have worked and paid employment taxes for multiple years. The benefits you can receive after you apply directly relate to the amount you have paid into the Social Security program during the course of your professional career.
The higher your wages and the longer you worked, the more benefits you may qualify for. In other words, applying for and receiving Social Security Disability benefits does not make you someone who is taking advantage of an entitlement program. Instead, you are attempting to utilize the benefits that you have paid for throughout your working life.
To qualify, you must demonstrate a permanent and severe disability
Determining whether you will qualify for Social Security Disability benefits can be one of the more difficult parts of the application process. Many people don’t really understand how the government determines if someone deserves benefits. Working with a professional who has experience with the application process can improve your chances of success.
Although there are certain injuries or medical conditions that improve your chances of securing benefits, a diagnosis alone is not usually enough to connect with the benefits you need. You will need to provide medical documentation that shows how your condition impacts your daily life.
Any diagnosis will produce a variety of symptoms and a range of consequences. You will need medical documentation that shows that your condition prohibits you from securing gainful, full-time employment. Demonstrating that it impacts your ability to provide self-care or take care of your family can also help.
In fact, in circumstances where your condition requires that a member of your family stay home to provide care for you, it may be possible for that individual to receive benefits as well. There are additional programs, including Social Security income, which are available even to those who have never paid into the Social Security system. Exploring which benefits programs you qualify for can make life easier after an accident or illness.