Staying Financially Secure When Applying for Disability

Although a prudent financial planner sets aside some of their assets for the proverbial rainy day when he or she may need them, there’s no predicting whether one may become afflicted with a disability in the future. The limitations created by a serious condition can not only impair your mobility and alter your lifestyle but can also restrict your ability to earn income. Thankfully, there are social safety nets out there to help you should such an unfortunate event befall you. Even if you are not disabled, it’s good to know how to access these support networks and garner the benefits they provide since none of us can know when we or someone we love may need them.

Filing for disability benefits can be a long and arcane process depending on your location, your needs, the type of support you are pursuing, and what you specifically qualify for. Be aware of the different manners in which benefits are classified in order to identify which ones are geared towards you. Private insurance groups and the state both offer different benefits, but typically it is not possible to obtain if the value of benefits offered by private providers exceeds what Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) is willing to give you.

Although the application process for private benefits and those that are publicly funded vary, there are basic procedural similarities that characterize both. It is essential that you promptly provide full and accurate medical records not just to the insurance company or the government but your physicians too; they need all available information about your background and conditions if you are to receive any benefits from anyone. When filling out a disability form, make sure you coordinate with a doctor so that you are both aware of your medical outlook and your plans to apply for benefits. Your doctor’s knowledge is useful in that he or she will likely have had patients with similar conditions in the past and can provide advice about seeking benefits. Make sure they agree with your choices in pursuing benefits, as their backing will be very helpful in rendering credibility and support to your appeal.

While disability income is provided both privately and publicly (in the form of Social Security Disability Income), there are multiple programs that are funded by the federal government which aid the disabled, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Targeted at the aged, the blind and those who are disabled with no income, SSI (along with many other benefit programs) is funded by general revenue (not Social Security taxes) and is managed by the Social Security Administration. You can find out more about benefits related to Supplemental Security Income on the SSA’s Supplemental Security Income webpage.

Depending on your status, your disability may also qualify you for tax support through programs such as the Homestead Tax Exemption. This enables permanently disabled homeowners to claim tax relief with regard to their property. Unlike Supplemental Security Income, the conditions and applicability of this exemption are different across the country, so it is necessary to consult local authorities who oversee collection of revenue from property taxes.

Regardless of one’s background or current circumstances, nobody deserves to be confronted with the additional financial strain of financial strain in the face of loss of income due to disability. In order to identify and obtain the benefits that you are eligible for, consult with your physician as to what the best possible course of action would be and remain persistent. With a little bit of determination, you can attain the support that is due to you.

Siddarth Nagaraj

Siddarth Nagaraj is a junior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He is currently pursuing a double major in Global Studies and Political Science with a minor in Geography. Originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he is interested in socioeconomic inequity and cultural diversity in developing nations. He is also a Section Editor for The Hill, UNC’s only nonpartisan political review, and has written multiple articles on international affairs for the quarterly publication.

Since the summer of 2010, he has volunteered as a Savings Officer for the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF) in Chapel Hill, which seeks to promote financial literacy and help fiscally strained individuals achieve self-sufficiency. Apart from writing, Siddarth enjoys reading, travel, and watching British television programs. Upon graduation, he plans to earn a graduate degree and seek employment in the field of international development.

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