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Fall 2021  Volume 14, Number 3        

The Financial Challenges of Being on Disability

COVID-19 symptoms sometimes last months, so it’s not surprising many workers have relied on disability benefits and other programs for financial assistance.

If you’re healthy, apply for disability insurance now to protect your financial future. If you don’t have coverage and are already facing a medical or physical problem, you still have options.

Disability Insurance

It’s easy to qualify for long-term disability insurance and, as its name suggests, it can provide benefits beyond the usually short-term effects of a bad flu. As for how much insurance you should buy, ideally you should get enough to cover 60 percent of your after-tax earnings. You can choose how long your benefits last and how long the waiting period will be before coverage begins.

Short-term disability insurance covers you for a shorter time, but the waiting period is about two weeks and benefits cover 80 percent of your after-tax earnings for about a year. Benefits don’t last more than a year.

Social Security Disability Insurance

You don’t have to buy Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). This benefit is provided by the government. To qualify, you must have worked for a certain period; paid Social Security taxes on your earnings; and be able to prove your illness will probably last 12 months or more. However, it’s harder to qualify for SSDI than disability insurance.

To apply, go online at www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/. You will need the following information:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Financial institution name and account numbers
  • Information about your medical condition
  • Doctor and clinic information
  • Information about your work, income, and other benefits
  • Birth certificate, proof of citizenship, medical records, and pay stubs or tax returns

It can take three to five months for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to file your claim and they may need more information. Most people are denied because the definition of disability is stricter for the SSA than for private insurance.


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In this issue:

This Just In...

The High Cost of Not Having a Financial Planner

How to Determine How Much You’ll Need in Retirement

Medicaid Work Requirements Slowly Being Phased Out

The Financial Challenges of Being on Disability


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