When someone you know mentions disability money, he or she could be talking about two totally different kinds of disability funds. There is private disability insurance and then there is disability benefits from Social Security. There are some similarities between the two, as well as some distinct differences. It is important that you understand these differences so that you file a claim with the correct organization.
Private Disability Insurance
Private disability insurance is often a benefit or perk that comes with your job or is offered to you through your employer. This type of insurance usually covers any sort of injury that occurs to you while you are either at work, on your employer's property, or conducting business away from company property (e.g., driving a truck for a shipping company). Your employer may pay for the insurance entirely as long as you remain a full-time employee, you may split the cost with your employer, or you have to pay for the insurance entirely out of your own pocket.
Social Security has always been the program for senior citizens who retire from working and who cannot pay their bills without support. However, the Social Security Administration (or SSA) also offers disability benefits to those who are completely disabled and unable to work. Benefits are based on your years of full-time employment and your personal contributions via Social Security taxes taken from your paychecks. The contributions are NEVER optional.
Filing Disability Insurance Claims
Private disability insurance requires a process whereby you file a claim to receive benefits after you have been injured. The claim is verified with your employer. Your employer has to show that you have been out of work for some time because of the injury and/or pre-existing condition (e.g., pregnancy). You must also have your doctor confirm that you are unable to work until you have recovered from the injury or that the pre-existing condition is no longer a problem.
SSA Claim Application
Applying for, or staking a claim for disability benefits through SSA requires that you certify that your injury or condition is expected to last long-term, that it could ultimately result in your death, or that you are legally blind or immobile. If none of these basic requirements match, then the SSA caseworker would look at your diagnosis, match it to the list of acceptable disabilities for which you can claim benefits, and then determine from several documents whether or not you are disabled enough to receive benefits.
Legal Help in Either Type of Claim
It is advisable that whichever disability claim you decide to make, you retain a lawyer to help. Many claims on both SSA disability and private disability insurance are turned down the first few times you attempt to stake a claim. Private insurance claims can refute you if your injury will not last long enough to process the paperwork and issue a check. SSA will deny you if your doctors say you could do modified work or if the medical documentation does not support your claim.
Usually, when you involve a lawyer, like one from Iler and Iler, in private disability claims, it is possible to get your check(s) within one to three tries. With SSA, you may have to continuously make appeals until you and your lawyer can effectively prove your inability to work. SSA may STILL deny you any benefits, regardless of the number of times you apply and stake a claim. You cannot return to work and keep either type of benefit, but you can apply for both disability types and keep getting checks until the private insurance runs out. SSA continues to send benefits until you choose to go back to work, or until you have had a miraculous recovery.