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Disability Benefits

If You Can't Work You May Be Eligible for Government Disability Benefits

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According to Social Security Online, "a 20-year-old worker has a 3-in-10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age." Have you given any thought to what you would do if you were injured or were felled by an illness that deemed you unable to work? You may be eligible for disability benefits from the government.

If you become temporarily disabled you may be covered by private insurance that is part of your employer's benefits package. If you are injured on the job you may be eligible for worker's compensation, which is administered by your state. If you, however, become so disabled that you will not be able to return to work for at least one year you may be able to participate in a disability benefits program that is administered by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA).

The two benefits programs are Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). According to Social Security Online, "the medical requirements for disability payments are the same under both programs, and your disability is determined by the same process."

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration considers you disabled if:
  • you worked long enough and recently enough -- The SSA specifies the number of work credits you must have in order to be eligible for disability benefits;

  • you aren't working or if you are working, are earning under a certain amount -- the Social Security Administration can advise you as to what that amount is;

  • your illness or condition is severe enough to interfere with certain work-related activities;

  • your condition appears on the list of disabling conditions maintained by the Social Security Administration;

  • even though your condition doesn't appear on the list of disabling conditions, it is severe enough to keep you from doing the work you did previously;

  • you can't adjust to doing work different from the work you did previously

  • your disability lasts or is expected to last at least one year or result in death;
If you meet the criterial listed here, you need to learn more about the process you will need to go through to apply for disability benefits. You can find out what you need to know by going to the Disability Planner's section of Social Security Online.

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