When an injury or illness renders an adult incapable of working for either a relatively short or an extended period of time, he or she may start to think about researching various entitlements and benefits aimed at helping disabled individuals cover their costs of living. Individuals who are harmed at work may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Members of the armed services may be eligible for veterans’ disability benefits. Non-veterans and individuals not injured or made ill by their working conditions most frequently turn to Social Security Disability benefits.
It is important to consult an attorney when applying for SSD benefits, for a number of reasons. First, the application process for SSD benefits tends to be complex. In addition, a staggering number of first-time applicants have their requests denied for minor clerical reasons and other minor issues that can generally be avoided if an experienced hand helps to guide you through the application process.
Second, it is important to have an attorney guide you through your entitlement options. The Social Security Administration oversees numerous benefits programs. As a result, it is important to understand which programs you may qualify for, which applications may impact various benefits and when to seek out assistance as opposed to reaping greater benefits by some other course of action.
It is especially important that you consult an attorney about conflicting benefits if you are an older worker. When a worker reaches full retirement age, his or her SSD benefits automatically reclassify as SSA retirement benefits. However, in the years immediately before one reaches the age of full retirement, a number of nuanced policies may make collecting SSD benefits more complex. An attorney should be able to help you sort out your unique set of circumstances.
Source: Forbes, "Social Security Q&A: What Social Security Disability Insurance Options Are Open to People with Disabilities?" Laurence Kotlikoff, Aug. 17, 2014