If you become disabled and unable to work, you may be eligible for long-term disability (LTD) benefits through a private insurance policy or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) from the federal government. Both programs provide partial income replacement if your disability prevents you from working, but they have some key differences. Here is an overview of both LTD and SSDI from a Social Security disability lawyer.
Detailed Overview of Long-Term Disability Benefits
Long-term disability insurance refers to private disability income policies offered by insurance companies or employee benefit plans. LTD coverage provides partial paycheck replacement if an injury, illness, or disability prevents someone from working for an extended period. Policies and coverage details vary widely when it comes to:
- Eligibility requirements
- Definition of disability
- Waiting periods before benefits start
- Monthly benefit amounts
- Length of benefit duration
- Rehabilitation and return-to-work services
Some of the key factors to understand about LTD coverage include:
- Eligibility is dependent on the specific policy terms. Some define disability as an inability to perform your own occupation; others require you to meet the strict Social Security disability standard.
- Premium costs are paid by individuals or employers. Benefits are generally 50-70% of pre-disability earnings.
- Waiting periods range from 30-365 days after becoming disabled.
- Many policies include vocational retraining and rehabilitation benefits.
- There are no Medicare benefits provided after 24 months.
An Expert Overview of Social Security Disability
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides disability benefits to those who have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. Here’s an overview:
- To qualify for SSDI, individuals must meet strict criteria that disability prevents “substantial, gainful work.” Your medical records must demonstrate an inability to work for 12+ months in any occupation.
- SSDI pays monthly benefits based on your lifetime Social Security earnings and taxes paid. Your benefit amount may also provide income for dependents.
- There is a 5-month waiting period before SSDI benefits begin.
- After 24 months of SSDI eligibility, you automatically qualify for Medicare health insurance coverage.
Filing an application and appeal requires understanding complex Social Security laws and processes. Many claimants benefit from legal representation.
How to Choose the Right One for Your Situation
Deciding whether to apply for LTD benefits, SSDI, or both depends on your unique situation, including:
- The severity of your disability and expected duration. Temporary or partial disability may only qualify you for LTD benefits. Total and permanent disability will make you eligible for LTD first and then SSDI.
- Your age and occupation. SSDI has a strict definition of disability making it difficult for some occupations to qualify.
- Work history and taxes paid into Social Security. You must earn sufficient work credits to qualify for Social Security.
- Need for Medicare coverage. SSDI eligibility provides access to Medicare after 24 months.
- Income replacement needs. Calculating your potential monthly benefits from both LTD and SSDI policies is key.
Analyzing these details will help you develop the optimal disability strategy. Consulting with an attorney can also prove to be beneficial.
Working with a Social Security Disability Lawyer
Navigating LTD and SSDI programs is complex, especially when simultaneously managing health issues. Having a lawyer maximizes your chances for approval by:
- Completing applications properly to avoid denial for technical reasons
- Gathering and presenting medical evidence strategically
- Handling appeals if you are denied
- Understanding interactions between LTD claims, Workers’ Compensation, SSDI, and other benefits
Disability attorneys work on contingency, meaning free consultation, no upfront fees, and they only get paid if you receive benefits. Their expertise facilitates favorable outcomes.
Contact Merryl Jones – Second Chance Lawyer for a Free Case Evaluation From a Social Security Disability Lawyer
If you have become disabled and are overwhelmed with the disability application process, contact the office of Merryl Jones – Second Chance Lawyer today. As an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer, I can help you understand your coverage options and rights. Contact me for a free case evaluation today!