If you have been badly injured and are unable to return to work, you need to have a basic understanding of Social Security Disability (SSD).  There are many common misconceptions about this federal benefit that can easily cloud your thinking.  So, for your financial and emotional well-being, let’s review the fundamentals:

Eligibility

If you have been, or expect to be, unable to perform “substantial work” (at least 6 hours per day, 5 days a week) at any legitimate job, significantly available nationwide, for at least 12 months, then you are eligible.  You don’t have to be off work for a year to apply.  You only need a reasonable expectation that you could be out of work for 12 months given your injury.

When to Apply

Some people don’t apply because they expect/hope to get better and return to work.  While it’s good to be optimistic about these matters, SSD should be seen as your back up plan. And because it typically takes a year or so to be awarded benefits, you should consider starting the application process now.  Whether you view your situation as temporary or permanent, if you’re eligible now, or maybe soon, then apply now.  Your future financial stability may depend on it because things don’t always work out the way we hope.

Costs, Penalties, and Downsides

Zero.  There are none.  The application is free, and there are no filing fees.  The entire process is done online, so you don’t even pay postage.  In the alternative, you can visit your Social Security office and apply in person.

If you’re awarded benefits, and then later, you are able to return to full-time work, the benefits stop.  There are no “penalties” for rehabilitation and returning to work.

While there is no downside in filing for SSD benefits, only to find that you don’t need them after all, there is a huge risk in not filing only to perhaps later discover that you, in fact, can’t return to full-time work.  That’s a recipe for financial disaster and it’s completely avoidable by filing for benefits now.

An Earned Government Benefit

Everyone who has worked for a period of time and has had withholdings taken from their paycheck has a Social Security account. To be sure you have one and to determine what your monthly SSD payment will be, go to ssa.gov and scroll down to “My Social Security.” Answer a few questions to discover your future Social Security payments and your present Social Security Disability benefit, should you qualify.

The point here is that any benefits you receive under SSD were earned and paid into your account.  This is not welfare money.  This is your hard-earned money.

For more information about SSD, contact Steffens Law Offices today.

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