So you've probably heard of Social Security, but have you heard of Social Security Disability Insurance? Maybe yes. Maybe no. Either way, it could be exactly what you need to help protect you if you're unable to work after an illness or injury, and an independent insurance agent is always ready to help you get covered.
Independent insurance agents know all about disability insurance and all the ways you can get it. They'll work one-on-one with you to help identify your needs, focus on your goals, and find the right options for you.
And maybe that's Social Security Disability, or maybe it's not. No worries, they'll help you figure it out. But first, here are a few important things worth knowing about disability insurance.
What Is Disability Insurance?
Disability insurance can be a lot to take in and, sadly, most people forget about it until it’s too late. But really, it should be a priority in your life. After all, imagine what would, and could, happen to your family if you were unable to work due to an injury or illness, even in the short term.
Being proactive is the best way to protect yourself from disaster, and what better way than with disability insurance. Disability insurance provides income replacement of between 40% and 70% of your salary if you become disabled, ill, or injured.
With all the different disability insurance options, you should be aware of what's offered. Your local independent insurance agent is just the person for the job and can help you find the right coverage.
Individual Disability Income Insurance
Individual disability is a policy you get through a number of different carriers outside of your employment. It provides coverage for you when you become disabled or ill and cannot perform your regular work duties.
- Individual long-term disability insurance: Provides benefits for the long term, lasting years and even decades in some cases.
- Individual short-term disability insurance: Just like long-term disability, only this coverage provides income replacement for the short term, like days and months instead of years.
Group Disability Income Insurance
Group disability is a type of policy offered through many employers that, like individual disability, provides coverage for you when you become disabled or ill and cannot perform your regular work duties.
- Group short-term disability insurance: Provided to all eligible employees, this policy covers short-term disabilities and injuries — even pregnancy and birth — for a short-term period normally lasting between 1 and 12 months.
- Group long-term disability insurance: This plan goes the long haul, lasting years, and sometimes even decades. It is also offered to the eligible group of employees by your employer, and you can opt in or out.
How To Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. Here are the ways to apply:
- First, complete your application online
Items you'll need to apply online:
- Your Social Security number and proof of your age
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all physicians, therapists, and caseworkers that took care of you
- Names and dosages of all the medications you are taking
- Medical records from your physicians and caseworkers that you have in your possession
- Laboratory results for any tests
- A summary of where you worked and the work performed
- Recent W-2 form or federal tax return
How To Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits
Qualifying for any government-run program is sure to have its challenges. Knowing what they are is key.
Qualifications for Social Security Disability Benefits:
- You must have worked in jobs that are covered by Social Security.
- Then you must have a medical condition that meets Social Security's definition of disability.
- Social Security pays only for total disability.
Are Social Security Disability Benefits Taxable?
Yes. If you file your federal tax return as an individual or jointly, you may be required to pay income tax on Social Security Disability benefits.
If you file as an individual and your combined income is $25,000 or more, then your Social Security benefits are taxed. If you file jointly and you and your spouse's combined income is $32,000 or more, then your Social Security benefits are taxable.
How Much Is Social Security Disability?
Each qualified employee who's paid into Social Security via wage deductions can be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The cost to each eligible person is $0 when you need it. But you have technically contributed to Social Security Disability through your prior work and wages in the form of Social Security tax.
What Are My Social Security Disability Benefit Amounts?
Okay, so you applied for Social Security Disability benefits, now how much do you get? On average, the Social Security Disability benefits will pay out 40% of your wages.
How an Independent Insurance Agent Can Help
An independent insurance agent can help with all things disability programs and insurance. This includes your Social Security Disability plan. Your agent can help with applying and even show you what other disability insurance policies you may need to cover any gaps.
Calling your local independent insurance agent is the next move and the ball's in your court. Go on, give it a shot. You've got nothing to lose.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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Benefits for People With Disabilities. (2019). https://www.ssa.gov/disability/