Disability is not something we plan on, but it is certainly something we can plan for. One of the most-overlooked financial planning tools available is free for anyone via the Internet.
The Social Security Administration has an online tool you can use to see how much you may obtain for Social Security disability benefits, as well as retirement benefits or survivor benefits for yourself, your spouse or your children. And it's easy to do. We know, because this blog writer just did it!
First -- understand that your Social Security disability benefits are connected to your earnings, not necessarily to the type of disability that you have. According to reliable sources, this can be important knowledge to have. One reason is that if you have a long-term disease that is likely to eventually cause a 100 percent disability, such as multiple sclerosis, you could decide when you're young how much disability insurance you may want to purchase. Even if you don't have an existing disease, it is still helpful information. Studies show that a 20-year-old person has a three in 10 chance of becoming disabled before retirement. The average age people begin collecting Social Security disability benefits is 53 years old.
Second -- you can have confidence that your information is secure. The site is password protected and has information in it that only the Social Security Administration (and you) should know. Once you're into the system, you have password reset information that only you should know. We used: street you were living on in the third grade; mother's middle name; and minor in college.
Third -- it's easy! It takes minutes to do, but could provide you with peace of mind. Whether you're looking for an estimate of survivor benefits, disability benefits or retirement benefits, they're all there on the same easy-to-use Social Security Administration website.
If you have become disabled due to illness, injury or mental illness, an experienced legal professional can help make sure your Social Security disability claim is not denied.
Source: Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, "The most-overlooked financial planning tool that's free to everyone," July 2, 2012