With the days getting shorter and the weather getting colder, many are getting ready for the cold Boston winter by unpacking their winter coats, buying rock salt, and making sure their cars have good tires for the snow. While all of these things are important, a recent news feature from Wicked Local Duxbury reminds us that we should also be preparing for possibility of suffering from a mental or physical disability.
As the author discusses, most people are unaware of the actual risk of being stricken with a disability. Statistics from the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) and other government data show that approximately 56 million Americans are currently living with a disability. This translates to one in five Americans living with a disability. Nearly 40 million, or one in ten Americans, are living with what the agency defines as severe disability. However, it should be noted that this does not mean all of these people are receiving either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Depending on how the estimate is calculated, there are currently somewhere between 9 million and 11 million Americans currently receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security benefits.
This also means that for young adults, nearly 20 percent of them will become disabled at some point before they are old enough to claim Social Security retirement benefits. For this reason, it is important to at least have a general understanding of what you can do protect yourself in the event of a disabling injury or illness. For those fortunate to have a job that provides substantial benefits, a private long-term disability insurance policy is probably the best option. With a private policy, you can cover you actual occupation and not just your ability to work in any capacity. This means that if you are a surgeon and lose the ability to operate or otherwise perform medicine, you can be declared disabled and receive long-term benefits. On the other hand, if you are no longer able to work as a surgeon but can bag groceries part time, then Social Security Administration can try to declare you able to work and consider you not entitled to any benefits.
It should be noted that unrepresented disabled claimants face the most difficulty obtaining a determination that they are legally disabled due to the fact that the system is stacked against them. For this reason, having an experienced disability attorney in Boston significantly increases your chances of obtaining a full and appropriate disability benefits award. Depending on your situation, this can either be an award for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or for Supplemental Security Income based upon your age, work history, and, in some cases, type of disability.
For those who have worked long enough to earn the requisite number of quarterly credits, Social Security Disability Insurance benefits would typically be the appropriate basis on which to file a claim. When filing a claim for SSDI benefits, unlike when a filing a claim for SSI benefits, a claimant’s household income is not taken into consideration. With the SSI program, only those living in a low income household and disabled are eligible for benefits.
If you are seeking Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
EVERYTHING SOCIAL SECURITY: Be prepared when disaster strikes, December 4, 2015, Wicked Local Duxbury, by Kirsten Alberino
More Blog Entries:
Hanson v. Colvin: A Critical Look by a Court of Appeals on a Denial of Benefits, August 14, 2014, Boston Disability Lawyers Blog.