When Is the Right Time to Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?
Suffering a debilitating injury obviously and directly causes immediate pain and suffering to the individual, but also is the source of more long-term financial suffering. More specifically, the disabled individual will most likely have to take time out of his/her employment to focus on recovery. Further, if the disabled individual is the breadwinner in a family, the negative effects can be even more devastating. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a safety net for such individuals in the form of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and retaining the services of an attorney experienced in disability benefits law can be crucial to obtaining benefits that will allow an individual to more fully focus on recovery. Recently, the United Nations released a report which illustrates the disadvantages that the disabled have in modern society, but also shows the practices that some countries, such as the United States, use to help their disabled obtain a viable quality of life. A discussion of the reasons why individuals may want to consider applying for SSDI benefits, as well as when not to apply, will follow below.
Reasons to Apply for SSDI Benefits
Aside from legal eligibility requirements, there are many factors which may lead a disabled individual to consider applying for SSDI benefits. Most importantly, SSDI benefits provide income to support the disabled individual and his/her family. Doing so allows the recipients to receive income to sustain their households while they themselves deal with stabilization of, and possible recovery from, their health issue. In some cases, a disability may require years of treatment before the individual is able to return to work. Without the ability to earn income, SSDI benefits serve as vital financial support.
Another crucial benefit for SSDI applicants is that many individuals who are approved will become eligible for Medicare 24 months after their SSDI benefits begin. In cases in which the time for examination of an SSDI application takes longer than 24 months, the individuals will be able to immediately access Medicare benefits as soon as the SSA approves SSDI benefits.
SSDI beneficiaries can also avoid the situation called the “retirement freeze.” While the SSA tracks an individual’s reported earnings over the course of his/her working career when calculating Social Security retirement benefits, in years in which the individual does not work, the individual will have zero earnings. Benefits from the SSDI program are counted towards one’s earnings, meaning the individual may be able to receive more in Social Security benefits.
Finally, SSDI applicants receive protections for returning to work. Specifically, SSDI benefits include a trial work period of nine months over the course of 5 years for the individual to try working and earning as much as he/she can while still receiving SSDI benefits. Following this period, these individuals have an extended period of eligibility of 3 years to be able to work, earn money, and still receive SSDI benefits whenever his/her earnings fall below a certain level.
When it Does Not Make Sense to Apply
Even in light of what is listed above, the following are circumstances in which it is not fruitful to apply for SSDI benefits:
- The individual’s medical professional does not believe the condition is severe;
- The condition is expected to be temporary;
- The individual will earn more than the monthly limit; and
- The individual has not worked long enough.
If you have suffered a debilitating injury that is expected to last at least one year, and you are curious about the possibility of obtaining SSDI benefits, contact a disability benefits attorney as soon as possible. The legal team at Farrell Disability Law has years of experience in determining if an individual is eligible to apply for SSDI, and discussing how they can help secure benefits. Contact our Jacksonville office today.