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Disability may be more of a risk than American workers realize

Private long-term care insurance is costly, and many workers may feel they have enough comprehensive protection provided by their health insurance and their retirement plan strategy, which may include an individual retirement account and/or a 401(k).

Yet according to “The Faces and Facts of Disability,” a recent publication by the Social Security Administration, nearly one-quarter of America’s young workers will experience disability before they reach retirement age. In fact, about twenty percent of Americans currently live with disabilities. That amounts to about 56 million Americans.

Fortunately, Social Security disability insurance can fill the gap left in most workers’ failure to carry long-term care insurance. Admittedly, the program is mandatory for most workers via payroll tax withholdings, but the potential benefit in times of disability can be a lifesaver. When disability strikes, workers with a qualifying work history can apply for SSDI benefits. Notably, the program may provide coverage both to qualifying workers and their dependents.

Yet the right to file a claim for disability benefits is not the same as a guarantee of qualifying for them. Fewer than forty percent of SSDI applicants are successful, due in part to the strict eligibility criteria and need for presenting convincing evidence in the application. At present, only around 9 million Americans receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.

Since getting benefits is anything but easy, many disabled workers seek the assistance of a disability attorney. An attorney can assist those who are preparing an initial claim, as well as those considering an appeal of a denied disability claim.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Faces and Facts of Disability,” May 2014

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