Other benefits available
Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income are not the only benefits that are available for the disabled. You may also have private long-term disability insurance through a recent employer, for example. Some of these private insurance plans require their members to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits even though the private insurance plans generally have a less rigorous definition of “disability,” or cover partial disability (which SSI/DIB do not). The fact of them requiring this is highly controversial; feel free to contact our firm for advice if you have any questions.
If you became disabled as a result of serving in the United States Armed Forces, you may be eligible for veterans’ disability benefits. Because some veterans’ benefits are available for partial disability, whereas Social Security provides benefits only in the case of total disability, it may be easier to gain veterans’ benefits than Social Security disability benefits. A pension is available for veterans with limited income who are either permanently and totally disabled or are at least 65 years of age. Contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-827-1000 for more information.
State governments often provide vocational rehabilitation services that may assist you in returning to work. If you are able to work, we recommend that you contact the vocational rehabilitation service in your state for more information. The Social Security Administration maintains a list of government-sponsored vocational rehabilitation services, work incentives planning and assistance programs, and protection and advocacy programs. Your local or county government may also be able to provide you with medical or financial assistance.
The “trap” hidden inside workers’ compensation
If you are disabled as a result of your work, you are probably eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Contact your state government for information. Please note that receiving workers’ compensation benefits may affect the amount of Social Security benefits you can receive; specifically, the sum of public disability benefits including Social Security Disability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation (but not Supplemental Security Income) benefits payable to you and your immediate family generally cannot exceed 80% of your “average current earnings.” The calcuation of “average current earnings” may be complex in some cases, so please contact a lawyer for more information.
If you were laid off from a job, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. You apply for unemployment benefits through your state government. Generally, in order to receive unemployment benefits, you must be able and available to work, whereas to receive disability benefits, you must be unable to work. If you were laid off and are not sure whether your medical condition allows you to do other work, consult with your physician and, if still in doubt, feel free to contact a lawyer.
Finally, if you are a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicant, you must inform the Social Security Administration if you are eligible for any other benefits or payments. Generally, you should apply for any other benefits you may qualify for. If the Social Security Administration tells you to apply for a benefit, you must do so.
This list is not exhaustive. There may be other benefits you may be eligible for. Contact your local government or other local organizations for more information.