Alabama Disability Benefits Attorney
Living with a disability is not only physically and psychologically challenging, but it may also prevent you from meeting your basic needs. If a disability prevents you from working and earning an income that is sufficient to pay for your housing, food, and other basic costs of living, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
Disability benefits may exist in the form of cash payments, as well as free or low-cost medical benefits. Additionally, disability benefits may come in the form of government assistance — such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — or through private insurance.
At the law office of Baker & Baker, our disability benefits lawyers can guide you through the types of disability benefits available to you and assist you as you pursue the benefits you need. Reach us today for your free consultation.
Types of Disability Benefits
Disability benefits come in many forms. The following will provide an overview of short- and long-term disability insurance benefits; the two types of Social Security disability programs — SSI and SSDI; health insurance and support for those with disabilities; and veterans’ disability compensation benefits. If you have any questions about the various types of disability benefits available or how our law firm can assist you, please call us directly.
Short- and long-term disability insurance benefits
Disability insurance can be purchased by an individual privately or may be available through their employer. Short-term disability insurance policies pay benefits (in the form of cash payments) for up to two years, depending on the policy, although most will last for less than one year.
Long-term disability insurance policies, on the other hand,typically pick up where a short term disability policy ends and may last for a few years, or even for the duration of the disability. These types of insurance policies are designed to pay for a portion of a disabled person’s lost income. Short- and long-term disability insurance purchased through a private insurance carrier and/or offered by one’s employer is not a government benefit.
Social Security disability benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains two types of disability programs, as mentioned above — Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, and Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI. These government-run programs have very stringent eligibility requirements, and millions of claims are denied each year.
While both types of programs are designed for those who are disabled, there are some key differences.
- SSDI benefits. In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, a person must have a qualifying medical condition that limits one’s ability to work or ability to earn income that exceeds what SSA defines as substantial gainful activity (SGA),and must have earned work credits by virtue of paying into Social Security during their working years. The amount of earned work credits a person needs depends on the age at which they become disabled, The important thing to know about the SSDI program is if a person has no past work history and has not paid into Social Security, they will not be eligible for SSDI benefits, but may still be eligible for SSI benefits.
- SSI benefits. Unlike SSDI benefits, you do not need any earned work credits to qualify for SSI benefits. You will have to show financial need and a qualifying medical condition that limits your ability to work or ability to earn income that exceeds what SSA defines as substantial gainful activity (SGA). Children can be eligible for SSI benefits. In certain situations, a person may qualify for both SSDI and SSI benefits (concurrently).
Health insurance and support
People who are disabled may also be eligible for health services and support. The two types of government programs that are available to those with disabilities include:
- Medicaid. Medicaid benefits are designed for those who are disabled and provide reduced-cost or free medical benefits. In order to be eligible for Medicaid, an applicant must meet both financial eligibility and non-financial eligibility requirements. The Supplemental Security Income program provides automatic Medicaid enrollment for applicants in most states.
- Medicare. The other type of government-run healthcare program for disabled persons is Medicare. Medicare is available for those who are 65 years of age or older, or who are under 65 but have been entitled to Social Security disability benefits for at least two years, receive a disability pension from the Railroad Retirement Board, have Lou Gehrig’s disease, or have permanent kidney failure.
Note that in addition to the government programs listed above, if you are not eligible for benefits under Medicaid or Medicare, you can seek coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, which offers options to those who have a disability.
Veterans’ disability benefits
Finally, those who are veterans and have a qualifying disability may receive benefits through the Veterans Administration. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers disability compensation to veterans injured or for illnesses during active military service, or whose military service exacerbated an existing condition.
How a Qualified Disability Benefits Attorney Can Help
Navigating differing types of disability benefit programs and understanding how programs may be combined without disqualifying one from benefits is confusing. What’s more, you may not know if you are allowed to work and receive benefits from other programs while receiving disability benefits.
The process of initially applying for benefits is often equally confusing and errors made in your initial application can result in your claim being denied and possibly negatively impact your odds of success during an appeal of a denial.
When you work with the disability benefits lawyers at the office of Baker & Baker, our legal professionals analyze your diagnosed medical conditions, medical reports, work history and other relevant facts to determine and then recommend the best options available for you, assist you in preparing and filing your initial application and/or appeal to give you the best chance of success. Help you understand the differing benefit programs and the positives and negatives of the quirky process SSA utilizes to determine if will or will not win your benefits.
Call Baker & Baker Today for a Free Consultation
Being disabled and unable to provide for yourself and family is a devastating experience. Fortunately, there are benefit programs available that can help you to pay for your basic costs of living and ensure that you get the healthcare that you need. To learn more, please call the office of Baker & Baker directly today. Our Social Security disability benefits lawyers can offer you a free consultation and work on your case on a contingency fee basis, so you never pay a fee until we win benefits for you. Reach us by phone, online, or in-person today.