It’s one thing to accept that you are temporarily disabled, but a whole other ball of wax when you hear the words “permanently disabled”. If you’re like me, it will get you down. You’ll go through resistance (hopefully not as much as me, please learn from my idiocy), anger, depression and denial. Pride is a powerful thing. Was instilled, engrained into each of us in my family from day one. My father believed in an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work. He also believed if you can walk and talk then you can work. I use the past tense of the word for effect, but just so you know my dad is alive and kicking at age eighty something and still working 6 days a week~
The definition of disability has shifted over the years. I know there are some out there that are just plain lazy and are looking to slip through the cracks. They certainly have added to the stigma over the years, but even so, disability is not a free ride. It’s not like one can be on disability and afford to live in a mansion or drive the latest sports car. The money you received is based on a point system and the points are gained by the years you’ve worked and contributed to society. If you’ve never worked a day in your life, you won’t be able to collect federal disability.
Here are some key points on what you need to know about Federal Disability (SSDI):
- The monthly benefit ($) you receive is based on your lifetime earnings (points).
- You have to be over 18 and under 65 years of age to be eligible.
- It is far less that you’ll receive from state disability (mine came to about half of state and state was about 60% of my average earnings when I was working).
- It is available to you for the rest of your life (as long as you remain disabled).
- They do from time to time ask for an update to confirm you are still disabled.
- You may work and earn (taxable) dollars (up to 1,000 per month) without penalty.
- If you ever want to try going back into the workforce you can do this on a trial basis for several months without it effecting your claim – be sure to inform them of your efforts though~
- Claiming unemployment while on SSDI is a baaaad idea. Technically you can, but it’s really easy to trip them up and not worth the risk of the government closing your claim. Still, if you want to do it, be sure to check with your local SSDI office or at least an attorney that specializes in disability. Here’s an article that may help clarify.
- It takes several months to process a claim and at least 60% of all claims are denied on the initial request.
- If you are denied you should definitely file again because most claims are approved the second time around.
- Filing the paperwork for disability is tricky. Be smart about it and ask a buddy who’s sharp to help or look for an advocate in your area. There are several no profit agencies that offer this kind of service at no charge. My supplemental insurance company did and got my paperwork processed and approved in record time~
- Like the state, SSDI has a waiting period. Unlike the state’s two weeks, SSDI’s waiting period is for five months. Meaning they won’t pay you for the first five months you are disabled. All the more reason to get cracking and sign up for state disability the moment you stop working and All the more reason to get cracking on the application for SSDI.
- Once you are approved for SSDI, be sure to ask them about the work trial option and to spell out how many months you’re allowed to earn over $1,000 per month without risking losing your benefits. It’s pretty cool.
- After 24 months of your approval date for SSDI, you will be eligible (and automatically signed up) for Medicare. You can apply for Medicaid on the first day you’re approved for SSDI.
The key in processing all of these kinds of claims is to just be honest. Most of the people at those desks appreciate sincerity and understand your frustrations. I was clear to me when they called that the people at my local disability office were eager to make it happen for me. They’re not bad people. They just have difficult jobs and get burnt out by the jerks who do try to scam the system, so be cool, be persistent and hang in there~