If you are under full retirement age and have become disabled, you may be part of a large group of people who feel lost, not knowing if there any financial benefits to help you get through a difficult transition. Chances are, you were working full-time, in good health, and had planned on retiring in a couple of decades. Unfortunately, injuries, illness or other health related issues can leave many “too-young-to-retire” individuals disabled and unable to work. Fortunately, if you have worked and paid into Social Security, you are entitled to receive and may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. While Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits will not bring you the same amount of income you made while working, SSD benefits can help disabled individuals pay for essential expenses such as housing. Before you give up and allow your disability to run (and ruin) your life, apply for SSD; they are benefits you have earned and are rightfully yours.
Under Retirement Age and Disabled
Disabilities that occur during adulthood are rarely preventable and often leave individuals searching for answers and income. Many people, under the full-retirement age, assume that social security disability benefits are only available to the elderly. Historically, SSD has been an “elder issue”, but currently, studies show an average 20-year-old worker has a 3 in 10 chance of becoming disabled well before reaching full retirement age, making it difficult and nearly impossible to plan for the future. While the approval process for SSD benefits is not flawless (as many applicants are initially denied), it is important that you apply for SSD benefits as soon as you become disabled and are no longer able to work.
SSD Application Process: Might Take Some Time, Don’t Give Up!
Once it has been determined, by a medical professional, that you are disabled and no longer able to work at any occupation (not just your current job), you will need to start the approval process for receiving SSD benefits. In order to become approved for social security benefits, you will need to prove that you are disabled and have paid into Social Security. The approval process can be frustrating, disheartening, and may even feel unfair at times, but don’t give up. If you need extra assistance, seek assistance from a lawyer who specializes in SSD claims, but don’t stop trying at your first “no”. During your application process there are specific things you will need to prove:
Is Your Disability Long Term and Does it Keep You From Working? SSD benefits are only available to people who unable to work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or resulting in death. If your disability is considered “short term”, you may be able to receive other benefits, but SSD is strictly for long-term disabilities.
Is Your Disability Qualified? Your disability may be considered long term, but you may only be eligible for SSD benefits if your disability falls under Social Security’s Listing of Impairments.
Have You Worked Long Enough? It will need to be determined, by Social Security, if you worked long enough under Social Security (i.e. paid into Social Security).
After you apply for SSD benefits, it may take a couple of months for your application to be processed due to a high volume of applicants and strict guidelines. While the majority of applicants may be denied upon the initial application, it’s important that you file an appeal or get a professional to help you, especially if your disability is keeping you from earning an income. You have worked hard for a secure future, if you become unexpectedly disabled you have a right to SSD benefits, you have earned them.