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What Are The Benefits of SSD?

Many individuals who are disabled and cannot work may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. At the same time, others may have access to long-term disability insurance either through an employer or a plan purchased from an insurance company. Nonetheless, there are certain advantages of federal disability benefits programs that are not available through privately sponsored plans.

Roeschke Law, LLC is the premier disability benefits law firm serving clients in the state of New Mexico. We are knowledgeable in both public disability benefit programs and privately sponsored plans. Our objective is to help disabled individuals and their families secure the financial resources to manage their medical costs and living expenses. We have a well-earned reputation for providing our clients with a superior level of personal service and always putting their best interests first.

Advantages of Social Security Disability

One of the key advantages of Social Security disability benefits is the potential to increase an individual’s monthly income. Each year, the Social Security administration determines whether there will be a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for retirement and benefit income. If the Consumer Price Index increases by a certain percentage, the amount of the monthly benefit will increase. Although such adjustments vary year-to-year, and one may not be made at all, privately funded long-term disability benefits are never adjusted for inflation, and the monthly payment generally remains the same. A disabled employee who initially receives $1,000 per month, for example, will continue to receive that amount in subsequent years.

What about income taxes?

Another benefit of Social Security disability is that there may be a lower tax liability than private long-term disability benefits, depending on how the premiums are originally paid. If premiums are paid from post-tax dollars while an employee is working, the benefit payment is not subject to income taxes upon receipt. Typically, however, premiums are paid with pre-tax dollars, which means that the benefit payments are taxable. On the other hand, only 50 percent of Social Security disability benefits are taxable.

Am I eligible for Medicare if I receive Social Security disability benefits?

One of the primary concerns for many disabled individuals is obtaining and paying for ongoing medical care. If you qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you will also be eligible for Medicare coverage, two years after the onset of your medical condition, regardless of your age. This includes Part A hospital benefits, Part B medical benefits, and prescription drug benefits under Medicare Part D.

Additionally, those who purchase health insurance coverage under COBRA have additional protection under SSA guidelines. Generally, COBRA allows employees to purchase health care coverage through the employer sponsored plan for 18 months after leaving a company. If an individual qualifies for disability benefits during this 18-month period, they are permitted to purchase 11 additional months of coverage. In other words, they can purchase insurance under COBRA for a total of 29 months, whereas an individual receiving private long-term disability benefits does not have this option. When COBRA coverage expires, a disabled person is then eligible for Medicare.

Do disability benefits affect retirement benefits?

Many people also wonder how receiving Social Security disability will affect their retirement benefits. During the time a person is disabled, his or her Social Security earnings records are frozen. Since those years are not included in the determination of future benefits, a person’s retirement income will be higher because retirement benefits are calculated based on average earnings over a period of time. If the time period when there were no earnings was included, the average income and related benefit computation would be lower.

Can I return to work if I am receiving disability benefits?

Recipients of public disability benefits also have incentive to return to work while still receiving public benefits, which is another advantage over private plans. When the SSA initially approves a disability claim, a determination is made as to as to whether the individual’s impairment is likely to improve. If so, the recipient is eligible to participate in a vocational rehabilitation program. The benefits will continue until the program ends.

Additionally, the SSA’s “ticket to work” program allows disabled individuals to return to work for a trial period, while maintaining their eligibility for disability benefits. If they are unable to continue working after the trial period, the monthly benefits continue without interruption.  Finally, another advantage is that dependents of disability benefits recipients who are under the age of 18 may also be entitled to benefits.

New Mexico Social Security Disability Attorney

At Roeschke Law, LLC, we have countless experience in helping disabled individuals obtain Social Security disability benefits. We work tirelessly with clients throughout the entire process to make sure they have adequate financial resources and proper medical care. We offer each client legal knowledge and compassion and always maintain the highest standards. If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security disability benefits, call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.

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