Disability is a very real problem that affects workers’ ability to perform work and make a living. According to the Social Security Administration, 30% of all new workers will have some form of disability before reaching retirement age. Social Security, which also provides benefits to the elderly, regardless of their disability status, provides disability insurance to workers who will struggle with the loss of their livelihood.
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The Social Security disability insurance program provides money to disabled workers who need it most. Only workers who are expected to be disabled for at least a year or injured that could result in death, are eligible for benefits. These workers face job losses for at least a year, which puts them at a much greater risk of financial hardship, including losing their home or bankruptcy. While other disability insurance programs cover workers with disabilities for short periods of time, the Department of Social Security focuses on the most severe cases.
Social Security only pays disability benefits to workers who meet certain criteria. To determine eligibility, the Social Security Administration considers a worker’s age and work history. Workers with disabilities must have worked for a certain percentage of the past to qualify. These requirements vary depending on age. For example, a 30-year-old disabled person needs to work at least 4-1/2 years from 21 to 30. However, a 50-year-old needs to work 5 out of 10 years immediately. before disability and a total of at least seven years from the age of 21.
The process of triggering a claim for benefits for people with a Social Security disability can be slow and complicated. Workers need to file a claim soon after a disability, and the full process can take up to five months before the first check arrives. The Social Security Administration will review the worker’s paperwork and also consult with doctors familiar with the employee’s condition. If the agency rejects a claim, the worker can make a complaint, but this adds time to the process and can lead to the cancellation of the decision.
Social Security disability benefits have the advantage of withdrawing their funding from existing federal revenue sources. The money comes from payroll check withholdings known as FICA, or the Federal Insurance Contribution Act, and taxes on free labor. Money from workers’ wages is transferred to the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, where managers invest money and increase the value of the fund to pay workers’ benefits when they are disabled. As the fund grows over time, it can support more workers and pay for benefits without the risk of being depleted.