Most people in New Jersey and nationwide understand that they will eventually die. They purchase life insurance policies and execute estate plans in light of this inevitability. However, many people do not plan ahead for the fact that they might someday become so disabled that they cannot work. In fact, even though their employer might offer long-term disability insurance, only about 40 percent of workers take advantage of this benefit. Moreover, they may be hesitant to pay the premiums that come with private long-term disability insurance, which can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars annually.
Fortunately, for those who suffer a permanent disability that prevents them from working entirely, help is available. The federal government provides disability benefits to those who qualify through the Social Security Disability Insurance program. SSDI is funded through taxes that are taken out of an employee’s earnings. Thus, if a person has been paying into the Social Security system long enough to accrue a certain amount of work credits, he or she may apply for SSD benefits.
In order to obtain SSD benefits, a person must have a disabling condition that will last at least 12 months or be fatal, and that permanently keeps them from being able to work. A person will not be considered disabled if he or she is able to earn more than $1,130 monthly.
A formula is used to determine how much a qualifying person will receive each month. The most SSD benefits that can be paid out to an individual is $2,687 monthly. Ultimately, the amount of benefits a person qualifies for has its basis in the average amount of money a person was able to earn over their lifetime before he or she became disabled. The average amount of benefits paid out is $1,171 monthly.
SSD benefits can be the financial lifeline a person needs should they suddenly find themselves disabled. However, the application process is complex and many initial applications for benefits are denied, necessitating an appeal. Therefore, it can help to enlist the help of an attorney, to ensure your initial application is as complete as possible and to represent you throughout the appeals process if necessary.
Source: cbsnews.com, “When a sudden disability ends your income,” Ray Martin, Oct. 12, 2017