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Serving Injured And Disabled Clients In Minnesota and Wisconsin

20-something? You have a 1 in 4 chance of needing SSDI by age 67

The Social Security Administration estimates that a quarter of Americans who are now 20 will become disabled by the time they reach 67, and many of them will need benefits from Social Security disability in order to make ends meet. If you develop an illness or injury that keeps you from substantial, gainful work for a year or more, you could qualify for benefits through Social Security disability.

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is something you and your employer pay into through the FICA tax throughout your working life. Therefore, you are only eligible for SSDI if you have a sufficient work history, which depends on your age. If you haven’t worked enough to qualify for SSDI, you could still get disability benefits through Social Security’s other program, Supplemental Security Income.

Hopefully, most people in their 20s now will work a long time before developing any disabling condition, so let’s focus on SSDI and its benefits.

Assuming you meet the work requirements, you’re eligible for SSDI if your disability:

  • Is severe enough that you can’t perform substantial gainful work
  • Has lasted or is expected to last for a year or more
  • Keeps you from performing the work you have before, and
  • Prevents you from adjusting to other appropriate work

SSDI benefits are calculated based on your previous income, and they officially begin six months after the disability started. So, even though your application will take time to be approved, you are owed benefits from that date. SSDI typically provides benefits to your dependants, and all of your benefits continue as long as you qualify as disabled.

These benefits are important for people who can’t work due to a disabling physical or mental condition but, unfortunately, they can be hard to get, even when you qualify. Nationwide, around half of all applications for Social Security disability are initially denied, often because the application is very complex and a great deal of evidence must be correctly submitted. You can and should appeal the denial of a legitimate claim.

You have a right to have a lawyer help you at any point in the process -- and legal fees are limited by law in Social Security disability cases.

We hope you never need Social Security disability benefits, but if you do, it’s good to know they’re out there. Stay well.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Applying for Social Security disability is a complicated process, but worth it,” Elliot Raphaelson, Oct. 15, 2013

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Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC
123 7th St S
La Crosse, WI 54601

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