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Why every worker needs to know about disability benefits

A recent article reminds even healthy workers of the importance of knowing about resources that may be available to workers and their family members in the event of disability.

Specifically, there’s a 25 percent change of pre-retirement disability facing every 20-year-old worker. That’s not a prospect that young professionals may want to think about at the start of their careers. Yet those odds indicate that it’s also a topic that workers can’t afford to avoid in any long-term discussions about financial and health security. 

One resource is a federal government insurance program that most workers have already been paying into: Social Security disability insurance. For those without enough work history, the Social Security Administration also offers Supplemental Security Income. The two programs share a common definition of disability: a medical condition that prevents work and is terminal or expected to last a minimum period of one year. 

Another federal program is Medicare, which provides health insurance benefits mostly to retirement-age citizens (age 65 or older). Individuals younger than 65 years of age may also qualify for Medicare if they have a serious condition and meet other criteria.

Finally, a program that is jointly funded by federal and state governments is Medicaid. Medicaid provides health insurance benefits to low-income recipients, as well as some individuals with disabilities.

However, a disability benefits attorney would caution that the payments under just one of the above programs may be insufficient to fully cover an individual’s expenses, living costs and health care needs. Fortunately, the programs are not mutually exclusive. Someone who has qualified for SSDI or SSI benefits may also qualify for assistance under Medicaid, Medicare or other governmental programs. 

Source: Huffington Post, “Social Security Benefits Made Easy -- Part 5,” Jay Lickus, Aug. 4, 2014

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