As medicine has improved and people have begun living longer, gerontologists once hoped for something called a “compression of morbidity.” This concept essentially meant that people would remain active and healthy for most of their lives and then, once they reached an advanced age, would die swiftly.
Unfortunately, this has not materialized and the chances of becoming disabled still increase with age despite advances in medicine. For an aging workforce, this is troubling news, especially as tough economic times have made early retirement an impossibility for many older workers who may be struggling with health problems.
Our New York City social security disability lawyers know that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people applying for social security disability benefits due to the aging of the workforce, and this trend is only likely to continue as baby boomers grow older and as medical data confirms that we may be able to slow the progression of disability but we cannot prevent it.
Older Workers More Likely to Become Disabled Recently, a New York Times article published the results of a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. The researchers looked through 15 years of data from the national Health and Retirement Study to determine how many people are disabled by the end of their lives.
The research found that as many as 28 percent of people are so badly disabled two years prior to their deaths that they need help to the point of being unable to do routine activities such as bathing or dressing. This doesn’t apply only to older people who live into their 80’s or 90’s either. In fact, 15 percent of individuals who died between the ages of 50 and 69 had been disabled in the two years prior to their death. When people become disabled in their 50s and their early 60s, few can afford to just give up work and live on their savings.
Unfortunately, qualifying for Social Security retirement benefits doesn’t start until age 62 and qualifying for Medicare is not possible until age 65 for most. This means that there may be a large number of people who are struggling to work or who cannot work at all but who need to receive income to provide for their basic needs. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are often the only options for these older workers in their 50s and early 60s who are suffering from impairing medical conditions. While qualifying for SSDI and SSI can be difficult since more then half of applicants are denied, these social safety net programs at least ensure that the older members of the workforce aren’t left facing a financial disaster when they become too impaired to work.
Older workers who are severely disabled and who qualify for Social Security Disability benefits may become eligible for Medicaid if they are on SSI or for Medicare if they have been on SSDI for 24 months or more. These workers can continue to receive disability benefits until such time as they become eligible to begin receiving their retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration. 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.