Understanding your disability rights
Understanding your disability rights can be a confusing and complicated process. Many disability applicants are rejected when applying for benefits or on a waiting list of a minimum of two years. This process leaves many injured families "hung out to dry," facing financial difficulties and a fast increase in medical bills.
Most disabled individuals can apply for coverage either through private companies or through the federal government. The Social Security Administration provides disability benefits to qualifying applicants. However, you may have available benefits through your employer, known as long-term disability insurance. Learning available disability options and how to achieve benefits can make enrollment faster and less complicated.
Disability Benefits for Employees
Many employers overlook the importance of disability insurance. Literally, you are less likely to receive long-term disability insurance from your employer than life insurance. Facts show, "Among blue-collar and service workers, the folks most likely to be seriously injured on the job, long-term disability insurance is offered by just 10% of small firms,"
Typically when an individual is injured, two categories of disability are determined:
- Short-term disability is designed to cover a percentage (usually around 50-67%) of your lost salary should illness or injury prevent you from working. Payments for this option usually kick in once you have exhausted your sick days.
- Long term disability policies typically take up where short-term policies leave off, covering people from a fatal illness or injury, including appalling twists of faith that forever end your ability to earn your paycheck. In most plans, benefits are paid to the extent of the disability up to age 65.
What are the technical terms of having a disability? When deciding if an employee is unable to work for the remainder of their career, there are strict guidelines set in place:
Long-term disability policies set “disabled” in one of two ways:
- Failure to perform the tasks of one’s own occupation
- Inability to perform duties of any occupation at all.
A plan may use both definitions of disability for independent periods of time. For example, for the first 24 months of the disability, a person may be defined as completely incapable of performing their regular job. However, after that, it may mean the person cannot perform any job that they are qualified to execute
Furthermore, an employee does not have to be permanently disabled to qualify for benefits. Most plans make it imperative that an employee has to have been a regular, full-time employee for at least a year to be eligible.
On the other hand, some disability policies ask that the Social Security Administration to determine or declare that the employee is indeed disabled before they will provide financial assistance.
The catch is the Social Security Administration uses an “any occupation” definition of disability and holds a six-month waiting period, making the application challenging to meet.
Applying for Federal Disability Benefits:
The Social Security Administration provides disability benefits to you and certain members of your family if you qualify. The law requires you have worked long enough and contain a medical condition that has prevented you from working or is expected to keep you from working for at least 12 months or end in death.
- A disability applicant must be unable to perform substantial work. Ordinarily, this means working and earning above a certain amount; currently making over $1,090 a month.
- Disability's applicant medical records must contain evidence of the physical or mental impairment and specific reasons of why it prevents the applicant from working. The evidence must be current, plus include doctors’ notes or lab tests within 60 to 90 days. If the medical records provided do not meet the guidelines of the Social Security Impairment Listing (which is an automatic approval) Social Security will then assess what type of work, you are capable of doing.
- Regarding physical impairment, Social Security will decide if an applicant can do light, medium, or desk-bound work by examining the functional limitations in the applicant’s medical records.
- Also, for psychological or psychiatric impairments other specialized tests are given to understand how well an applicant can perform specified cognitive functions.
- Likewise, Social Security uses the RFC assessment to determine whether the applicant can work doing their past job. (full-time)
If not, it is then up to Social Security to disclose other jobs that the applicant can still do (or be expected to learn to do.) If the applicant is deemed as “older” and obtains little education or non-transferable job skills, the system may not require the person to learn a new job, and will consider that person disabled.
Statistically, persons hiring a disability lawyer have a much higher success rate. The disability laws are filled with an infinite number of outlets and technicalities that would only make sense to have a professional disability attorney backing your claim.
This will eliminate any worries of filing the proper paperwork at the appropriate time to guarantee your awarded promptly for your benefits.
If you are suffering from an impairment, either medical, psychological, or psychiatric in nature, and are physically unable to support yourself and your family, you may be entitled to disability benefits. Our Georgia Social Security Disability Attorneys have helped thousands of clients get the benefits they deserve.
Don’t wait; disability benefits can make the difference between struggling financially and having the funds you deserve to survive while receiving sufficient medical care. If you need to find out if you are covered by disability benefits call our Georgia Attorneys today.