Workers who get injured while performing their job can always avail of the financial shelter provided by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance program, which was approved in 1908 and designed to immediately provide financial benefits (without the need for litigation). This Workers’ Comp was meant to cover lost wages, medical treatment, rehabilitation and death. The case is not the same, however, for workers who sustain injuries or illnesses that are not work-related, even if such injury or illness caused total disability.
It was not until 1956, when the Social Security Act of 1935 enforced the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD), a program designed to provide financial benefits to those whose injury or illness rendered them totally disabled; another program (for the same purpose, but with different requirements) was the Supplemental Security Income or SSI.
SSDI was specifically intended for insured Social Security members. This means individuals who have worked long enough or recently enough and have paid the monthly SS taxes (identified as FICA or Federal Insurance Contributions Act in one’s pay slip). To be a qualified recipient under the SSDI program, though, an individual:
- Should have acquired the needed amount of credits (he/she can earn 4 credits in a year)
- Is below 65 years old (insured members aged 65 or above will be awarded the SS Retirement benefit instead)
- The disability is included in the list of serious health conditions made by Social Security, or is serious enough to render the insured member unable to perform the work that he/she was assigned to perform before the disability occurred
The disability is expected to go on for, at least, a year or it could lead to death
Despite qualifying in the SSDI program, an insured worker can also be found to be qualified in SSI. This case, wherein an SS member would receive both SSI and SSDI benefits, is called “concurrent benefits.” This happens when the SSDI payment awarded to the member is small. To raise the amount of payment up to the maximum amount allowed by the SSDI, the SSI benefit will serve as an addition.
For totally disabled workers, qualifying for the SSDI benefits (or SSI) is a major concern. Many, however, have already been denied their application and appeals due to their own mistakes. To keep an applicant from committing mistakes, as well as for better chances of getting one’s application approved, hiring an SS disability insurance lawyer would the first wisest thing to make as he/she will help make sure the everything is accomplished correctly and submitted on time.