My Social Security Disability (SSDI or SSI) clients are often surprised when I tell them that winning their claim may mean much more than just a monthly income benefit. Many are under the belief that if they become disabled Social Security Disability is simply a life support that provides a monthly check while they are unable to work. But, in fact, there are a variety of other important benefits that come with the disability designation. Here's a brief description of a few of these:
1. "PERIOD OF DISABILITY": A finding of disability entitles an applicant to a "period of disability." What this means is that during the disability entitlement period, the individual's earnings record will be frozen as it pertains to the non-payment of FICA taxes. This means that the eventual retirement benefit amount of the individual will not be reduced due to non-payment of those taxes, as it would without the freeze. This can be a significant benefit depending on the age of the individual and the length of the disability period.
2. "DEPENDENT CHILDREN'S BENEFITS": Another important benefit that many people are unaware of is the cash benefits for dependent children. For such qualifying children - generally those under age 18 or who are disabled themselves by the age of 22 - the parents award of benefits often entitles the child to dependent benefits.
3. "MEDICARE AND MEDICAID": One of the most misunderstood benefits that accompanies an award for Social Security Disability is the entitlement to Medicare (for SSDI recipients) or Medicaid (for SSI recipients). Medicare eligibility is automatically bestowed 24 months after entitlement to SSDI benefits. But, keep in mind, this actually will mean 29 months after the onset of disability because there is an initial 5 month waiting period after the onset of disability before entitlement to SSDI benefits begins. For SSI recipients, Medicaid eligibility is immediate upon the entitlement to benefits, which equates to the filing date of the SSI application in most cases.
The above descriptions are a very basic explanation of some of the ancillary benefits available to Social Security Disability recipients. Each of these benefits offers extremely important assistance beyond the monthly cash income. If you have any questions about your potential entitlement to any of these benefits, please don't hesitate to call us.