If you are unable to work due to an impairment, you may have several options for receiving monthly disability benefits. Disability programs offered by the federal government and private insurers offer an important safety net for anyone who suffers a medical condition or mental health impairment that affects their ability to work.
There are specific eligibility requirements for both federal disability benefits, like Social Security Disability Insurance, as well as private insurance policies for short-term and long-term disability benefits. If you have this type of policy and otherwise qualify for disability benefits, you may be able to collect both Social Security and long-term disability benefits. However, the number of long-term disability benefits that you receive may be reduced by the value of your monthly Social Security disability benefit.
The process of applying for multiple types of disability benefits can be confusing, particularly when you are struggling with a health issue. A skilled disability attorney can help you get the benefits that you are entitled to, starting with a free claim review.
Can You Collect Both SSDI and Long-Term Disability?
As a general rule, you can collect both SSDI benefits and LTD benefits. In fact, many long-term disability insurance companies require anyone who receives benefits to apply for SSDI as well. However, if you are applying for or currently receiving SSDI, you are not required to apply for LTD benefits.
Most LTD insurance policies contain a specific clause that mandates that beneficiaries will apply for Social Security disability benefits within a specific timeframe. For example, some LTD insurance carriers require claimants to apply for SSDI within one year of receiving disability benefits.
If you are approved for SSDI, you probably won’t be allowed to “double-dip,” or be paid the full amount of benefits by both the SSA and the insurance company. Instead, your insurer will offset the amount of SSDI benefits from your LTD payments. The combination of SSDI and LTD benefits will then equal the LTD benefits you got before qualifying for Social Security disability.
Getting LTD benefits will not affect your SSDI application process or the benefit amount. If you receive workers’ compensation or other public disability benefits, this may reduce the amount of SSDI that you receive. Disability insurance benefits – such as those provided through an LTD policy – will not impact your Social Security disability payments.
Understanding SSDI and Long-Term Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is a program offered through the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is available to individuals who cannot work for 12 months or longer due to a disability. In addition to qualifying under the SSA’s definition of disability, applicants must have worked a certain amount of time and earned “work credits” to qualify for SSDI.
The amount of SSDI that you receive is based on your average lifetime earnings before you became disabled. It is not based on the severity of your disability. When you qualify for Social Security disability, you may receive a lump sum payment to cover the back benefits from your disability onset date.
By contrast, long-term disability (LTD) benefits are paid by a private insurance company. An individual may have LTD insurance through their employer, or by purchasing their own policy. A person who cannot work due to a disability can make an LTD disability claim after a waiting period, which is usually approximately 6 months after the disability began.
LTD benefits are calculated based on a percentage of your monthly salary. Typically, your benefits will be 50 to 60% of your salary. These benefits may last for a set amount of time, until your disability has resolved, or through retirement age.
Both Social Security disability benefits and LTD benefits provide an important safety net for Americans. Each provides a monthly benefit, which can be critical for anyone who cannot work because of a physical or mental health condition. Each program has its own rules and requirements to qualify; a skilled New Jersey disability benefits attorney can help you determine if you are eligible for one or both types of benefits.
Can You Collect SSDI and Short-Term Disability?
Yes. If you have a short-term disability plan, then you can collect both SSDI and short-term disability benefits. However, because short-term disability benefits are typically limited in time, you will likely have received the full amount of benefits before you are approved for SSDI benefits.
Importantly, while SSDI is limited to people whose disabilities are expected to last 12 months or longer – or be terminal – you can apply before you have been out of work for 12 months. In this way, you may receive both short-term disability and SSDI benefits at the same time. If you have questions, reach out to a disability benefits lawyer in New Jersey for a free claim review.
How Long Can You Stay on Long-Term Disability?
The length of your long-term disability payments depends on your LTD plan. Many LTD policies payout for a limited period of time, such as 2, 5, or 10 years. Others offer disability payments through retirement age.
However, if you qualify for SSDI, you will receive disability benefits for as long as you remain unable to work due to your disability. If you have questions about SSDI or LTD benefits, reach out to a New Jersey disability benefits lawyer.
Can I Collect Long-Term Disability and SSI?
Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a federal disability benefits program available to people with disabilities who have low income and asset levels. To qualify for SSI, you must fall within the income limitations set by the SSA.
While it is possible to collect both LTD benefits and SSI, the amount of LTD benefits that you receive will be counted as income for SSI purposes. As a result, you may not qualify for SSI if you receive LTD benefits – or your SSI will be lowered. Consult with a New Jersey disability benefits lawyer to learn more about applying for SSDI, SSI, and/or LTD benefits.
How a Disability Benefits Lawyer Can Help
Most of us don’t consider the possibility of being unable to work because of a disability. If you find yourself in this position, you may not know what to do next. At Bross & Frankel, we are here to help.
Our law firm is dedicated to advocating for people with disabilities and helping them get the compensation that they need to move forward with their lives. With offices in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, we offer free disability claim reviews to all prospective clients. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a New Jersey disability attorney, call us at 856-795-8800, or fill out our online contact form online.
Rich Frankel is the managing partner of Bross & Frankel. He is a member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bars. He has focused exclusively on disability and social security benefits since 2005.
Mr. Frankel joined what is now Bross & Frankel after having watched his father struggle with disability, fighting a lengthy illness. Mr. Frankel founded the firm’s veteran’s law practice and substantially grew the social security disability practice, focusing Bross & Frankel’s ability to fight for all of the disability benefits available to his clients.
Mr. Frankel additionally fights for clients in court, obtaining frequent victories in Social Security appeals and against insurance companies in Federal court.