Approximately 24.1 million Americans suffer from a severe disability. From dietary restrictions to assistive technology to chronic pain and hospitalizations, millions of people struggle with the accommodations their disabilities require them to make.
These accommodations are costly emotionally, physically, and financially for all involved, and can be discouraging to deal with.
Thankfully, for those with severe disabilities, Social Security benefits are an option. If you are unable to live your normal life because of a severe medical problem, disability benefits may be for you. While speaking with a disability attorney is the best way to get started, you can also begin the process on your own. Continue below to see the many ways in which disability benefits can help you.
The most substantial benefit that Social Security provides is monthly income. This income varies slightly depending on the program, but is substantial enough to make a large difference in many recipient’s lives. For example, those who apply for SSDI with enough prior contributions to Social Security can qualify for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI).
This awards monthly benefits from $700 to $1700, depending on the severity of the disability. Those with especially low income can qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) instead, which awards $914/month, along with potential extra benefits from the state.
Families of disability benefit recipients may also qualify for benefits. Spouses who support children under 16, children under 18, and disabled children are often qualified to receive benefits through their spouse or parent.
Their benefits are typically 30-50% of the recipient’s monthly benefits, and can add up to no more than 180% of the benefits awarded for one family.
Another advantage of having disability benefits is reliable insurance coverage. Those who receive SSDI are covered under Medicare, which greatly reduces patients’ medical costs in exchange for small monthly premiums. It is available to anyone that is severely disabled and qualifies for SSDI, regardless of income.
Those who receive SSI are enrolled into the Medicaid program, which is designed specifically for low-income people of every age. Patients usually pay no parts of medical expenses, but there are small variances in coverage from state-to-state.
Social Security benefits also ensure that recipients receive transportation to and from appointments if they are otherwise unable. This non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is required by federal regulation and can be received by any patient with physician approval. Even in emergencies, those with any Social Security insurance typically receive coverage for ambulance transportation to and from the hospital.
Potential for PASS or Ticket to Work Program
For those with disabilities that wish to return to work, Social Security also has programs in place to reintegrate recipients into the workplace. PASS (Plan to Achieve Self-Support) and Ticket to Work are programs that help disability recipients plan for their future job by saving up for the supplies they’ll need to begin working.
This may include school expenses or equipment and tools necessary to train for their desired employment goal. Those in these programs are also guaranteed benefits throughout the process to ensure that no financial strain occurs as they prepare to work.
For those enrolled in Social Security benefits, qualification for these programs is optional and automatic. They also allow for no-penalty unenrollment from these programs at any time.
How to Apply for Disability Benefits
If you are unable to work due to a disabling condition and need to apply for help with your financial situation you can apply for disability benefits. There are two types of disability benefits one is SSI which stands for Supplemental Security Income and is a federal government benefit that provides monthly payments to children and adults with disabilities who have a low income and not many resources. It is available to help pay for essentials like food, clothing and shelter.
The 2nd benefit is SSDI which stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. This provides monthly payments, but is based on how much you have paid into Social Security through your past jobs. You may also qualify for this benefit based on a parent’s work history.
As soon as you become disabled, you should apply for disability benefits. If you are ready to apply now, you can:
- complete your application online.
- call the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. If you are hard of hearing or deaf, you can call the SSA at TTY 1-800-325-0778.
- call or visit your local Social Security office.
You will need to provide the following information on your application:
- your social security number;
- proof of age;
- names, phone numbers, and addresses of caseworkers, doctors, clinics, and hospitals that administer care to you and the dates of your visits;
- your most recent W-2 form or a copy of your federal tax return if you were self-employed;
- names and doses of all the medications you have been prescribed;
- medical records provided by your doctors, therapists, caseworkers, clinics, and hospitals;
- lab and test results;
- a summary of where you worked and the type of work you did.
Contacting a Social Security Attorney
If disability benefits sound right for you, you may want to consider speaking with a Social Security disability attorney. A disability attorney is an irreplaceable resource when filing out applications, keeping paperwork organized, and aiding you in the appeals process if necessary.
To give yourself the best chance at receiving the assistance you deserve, speak with a disability attorney today.