Most people have to work for a living in order to pay their bills and put food on the table. Unfortunately, sometimes a medical problem or disability makes working impossible. In fact, our Manhattan disability lawyers know that an estimated one out of every four workers now in his or her 20s will become disabled before retirement. Workers may become disabled as a result of workplace accidents but may also be rendered unable to work as a result of physical or mental problems ranging from cancer to heart conditions to severe depression. Age is a factor as well, as our bodies can begin to give out as we grow older and conditions such as arthritis can develop and interfere with the ability to hold down a job.
Unfortunately, while one out of every four workers is going to become disabled and will likely need help supporting himself, the majority of people have limited places to turn if they grow too sick to work. Options for receiving income when a medical condition or impairment prevents working include workers’ compensation, veterans’ benefits, private disability policies and disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Workers’ comp benefits cover only work injuries and veterans’ benefits cover only those hurt on active duty, so for most people this leaves only private coverage – if they have it- and benefits from the SSA.
Social Security Disability Benefits Often the Only Choice
Although private disability insurance coverage is available to protect workers who become disabled either on a short-term basis or on a long-term basis, few people actually have policies that provide this type of insurance protection. In fact, a recent study conducted by Guardian Life Insurance and LearnVest revealed that only 35 percent of workers had disability insurance policies. Workers surveyed made $30,000 or more per year and were between the ages of 21 and 40.
Of the workers who were surveyed, only 33 percent between the ages of 21 and 30 reported that they had a disability insurance policy. Workers between the ages of 31 and 40 were slightly more likely to have coverage, with 41 percent stating that they had a private insurance policy that would offer benefits if they became disabled and could not work.
The remainder of the workers – more than half among all age groups interviewed – have no disability benefits insurance coverage available to them through a private insurer. This means that if these workers get sick and cannot work or suffer any type of impairing injury not covered by workers’ compensation, they will have just one place to turn: to the Social Security Administration.
The SSA provides benefits through both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), so the disabled do have several programs through which they can seek help. However, both SSI and SSDI have a strict definition of disabled, a high denial rate, and are for long-term conditions only. If you are disabled and need income, however, you will want to ensure you do everything possible to receive benefits from the SSA. It might be your only potential source of income.
If you are disabled and cannot work, contact the Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP today by calling (800) 692-3717.