Q: Is there a way to expedite payment of SSDI benefits in terminal cases?
Qualifying for Social Security disability insurance benefits “SSDI” can be a long, drawn-out process. It also results in a denial of benefits two-thirds of the time, necessitating filing an appeal – which, of course, adds more time to the process. All the while, the disabled applicant is often sick, waiting for money, and struggling with bills since losing their salary due to a disability.
SSDI benefits are available to people who meet the government’s definition of “disabled” and who satisfy the “work credits” requirement – namely, that they worked and paid into the Social Security fund through payroll tax deductions over a certain number of years and hours. The government recognizes many physical and mental impairments as qualifying conditions for SSDI benefits.
Terminal illnesses are among the conditions that generally qualify for SSDI but the applicants often die before receiving any benefits.
A New Bipartisan Bill: Expedited Disability Insurance
This may change if new bipartisan legislation is enacted. The bill, called “The Expedited Disability Insurance Payments for Terminally Ill Individuals Act” “eliminates the five-month waiting period for any person diagnosed to be terminally ill” and allows “eligible individuals to begin receiving benefits in the first month”. In order to qualify, two independent physicians need to certify that the applicant has a medical prognosis with a life expectancy of six months or less. This will allow terminally ill people access to benefits immediately as they face their final months and may reduce some of the financial stress.
Applying for Social Security disability benefits is a complex process and having a skilled disability benefits attorney involved gives applicants the best chance at having the award approved in the most expeditious manner. When you’re suffering and burdened with financial insecurity, accessing these financial resources is critical.
If you or a loved one needs help with an initial disability benefits application or with the appeal of a denial of benefits, the Disability Attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
From our offices in Tempe, Tucson, and Phoenix, we help disabled individuals and their families throughout Arizona in all aspects of disability law.