What to consider if you become disabled
Most people don’t expect to ever become disabled, so they don’t plan for it.
At 101 Mobility, we frequently speak with families who must cope with an unexpected disability diagnosis. It’s a stressful place to find oneself, with no easy answers.
Dealing with the onset of a major disability affects the disabled person as well as the spouse, family, work, and living arrangements of everyone involved with that person. It can also change retirement plans and financial stability of the person and/or the family. It’s huge and very unsettling concept to grapple with.
Although you may be healthy and financially stable now, an unexpected diagnosis or injury could significantly derail your life plans. If so, what would you do and to whom would you turn for help?
We hope you will let us, at 101 Mobility, help you or your family member stay as mobile as possible. As Certified Aging in Place Specialists, we can answer a lot of FAQs and make helpful suggestions for assisted living at home you may not know about. (For instance, it’s often helpful to know that many home mobility products can be rented rather than purchased.)
Because you can’t know what the future holds, it’s a good idea to do a little research now to discover what protections you already have in place, and where you might want to provide a little additional insurance protection.
Here is some information we think you may find helpful:
- Do you have employer-sponsored benefits?
Does your company provide disability insurance? Disability insurance pays a benefit that replaces a percentage of your pay for a designated period of time. You may already have access to both short- and long-term disability insurance. For both types of plans, the median replacement amount is about 60% of pay, with most subject to maximum limits.
If your employer offers disability insurance, find out how to apply for benefits should you need them, and what you will need to provide for proof of disability. Your HR manager will be able to answer your questions.
- What about supplemental insurance?
If you do not have access to disability insurance through your employer, it might be wise to investigate other options. If you are presently healthy, you may wish to purchase both short- and long-term group disability policies – especially if you have a small savings nest egg.
You can purchase policies that cover you for life, until age 65, or for shorter periods such as two or five years. An individual policy will remain in force as long as you pay the premiums.
- What does Social Security pay?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. SSDI pays benefits to people who cannot work due to a disability that is expected to last at least one year, or which may result in death. With an average monthly (in 2017) of just $1,171, it is only intended to help make ends meet.
In order to receive SSDI, you must meet strict criteria for your disability. You must also meet requirements for how recently and how long you have worked. Meeting the medical criteria is difficult with about two-thirds of initial SSDI applications denied on first submission. Denials can be appealed, however.
The application process is long — taking up to five months, so it is advisable to apply for SSDI as soon as you become disabled. If your application is approved, benefits begin in the month following the six-month anniversary of your date of disability. Eligible family members may also be able to collect additional payments of up to 50% of your benefit amount.
- How is SSI different?
The Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a separate program, based on income needs of the aged, blind, or disabled. You can apply to both SSI and SSDI at the same time. For more information, visit the Social Security Disability Benefits website at ssa.gov, where you will also find a link to information on the SSI program.
At 101 Mobility, we are here to help in any way we can, with information, recommendations, even help getting in touch with a government agency that might be able to provide help and support.
How can we help you?