Preparing for a Long-Term Disability

Q: How can I prepare for a long-term disability?

There are few things more frustrating than applying for disability benefits on your own.

And with about 60% of first time applications for Social Security disability insurance being denied, necessitating a lengthy appeals process which can take months or even years, most people seek the help of a skilled disability benefits attorney.

In order to apply for Social Security disability insurance (“SSDI”), the worker must meet the government’s definition of permanently mentally or physically “disabled”, must be between the ages of 18 and 65, and must’ve worked and paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes for the requisite number of years and amassed the minimum number of work credits. The application process is complex and mistakes or incomplete applications will result in a denial of benefits.

Is there another alternative?

In addition to SSDI, many workers can obtain a long-term disability insurance policy (“LTD”) through their employers. Although an estimated 213,000 employers offer long-term disability insurance, only about 40% of employees sign up, presumably preferring to direct the policy premium money to more urgent household expenses.

While about 70% of people have life insurance–possibly because death is a certainty and disability is not—it may be wise to reconsider how you and your family would function for years or decades in the event a permanent disability prohibited you from earning an income. Accidents happen every day. Even unexpected intentional violence, such as the horror we witnessed in Las Vegas, happens more often lately—shattering life plans.

Whether you have LTD insurance or are applying for SSDI after you’ve suffered a permanent disability, the associated paperwork and processing time to receive benefits may range from 90 days to a year for LTD and even longer for SSDI. It is noteworthy that most LTD policies require the worker to apply for SSDI as a prerequisite to receiving LTD benefits.

So, the bottom line is to apply for disability benefits as soon as possible after the disabling event. Of course, the time you should take this action unfortunately coincides with the time you are least able to handle such a burden due to the physical, emotional, and financial consequences you have suddenly found yourself and your family facing. That’s why many people engage a skilled disability benefits attorney to handle the application and appeals process for them.

If you or a loved one is applying for or appealing a denial of Social Security disability benefits or long-term disability insurance benefits, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law, can help you. Contact us for a free consultation.

From our offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, we fight for the rights of the disabled throughout Arizona so they can focus on healing.