People living in Pennsylvania may wonder what will happen if they eventually become disabled. This concern is valid: It is estimated that 20 percent of adults in the United States will experience at least a three-month period of disability during their working years. In addition, even healthy people can suffer an unexpected accident or illness that can leave them unable to work.
While most financial experts advise people to have both long and short-term disability insurance policies, many do not. For those who don't have private disability coverage, access to federal benefits programs is particularly important. The Social Security Administration oversees these two programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI benefits are funded by Social Security contributions made by workers over time. SSI is available to anyone who is disabled regardless of Social Security contributions. To be eligible for SSI benefits, an individual must meet specific income and assets guidelines. Since SSDI is an earned benefit, there are no income restrictions on being able to claim benefit payments.
Qualifying for either program requires proving that the applicant has a disability that is severe enough to keep him or her from earning a meaningful income. this can be challenging, as it requires extensive documentation not only of the disability but of how it prohibits one from carrying out normal job duties.
Individuals who are considering applying for SS disability benefits may benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney. The lawyer may be able to review the client's case and make recommendations before and during the application process. If the initial application is refused, the attorney may also be able to assist in filing an appeal.