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Understanding the Nuances: Social Security Disability vs. Long-Term Disability Claims

In the realm of disability law, navigating the complexities of Social Security Disability (SSD) and Long-Term Disability (LTD) claims can be daunting. Understanding the key differences between these two types of benefits is crucial for individuals seeking financial assistance due to disability.

At Ascend Disability, we’re committed to guiding our clients through the intricacies of these processes, empowering them to secure the benefits they rightfully deserve. Contact our disability lawyers today at (855) 445-9787 for a free consultation.

Social Security Disability (SSD) Claims

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program designed to provide financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. To qualify for SSDI benefits, claimants must meet the following criteria.

Work History

Applicants must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and earned enough work credits to be eligible for benefits. The number of work credits required depends on the age of the applicant at the time of disability.

Medical Eligibility

Individuals must have a qualifying disability that meets the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability. This means the condition must prevent the individual from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) and be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.

Severity Requirement

The disability must be severe enough to significantly limit the individual’s ability to perform basic work-related activities such as walking, standing, sitting, lifting, and remembering.

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Limit

Claimants cannot engage in substantial gainful activity while receiving SSDI benefits. In 2024, the SGA limit is $1,350 per month for non-blind individuals and $2,260 per month for blind individuals.

Long-Term Disability (LTD) Claims

Long-Term Disability insurance is typically provided by employers as part of a benefits package or purchased independently. LTD benefits are designed to replace a portion of the claimant’s income if they become unable to work due to a disability. Here are some key aspects of LTD claims:

Employer Coverage

LTD benefits are often offered as employee benefits, and eligibility requirements may vary depending on the terms of the insurance policy. Generally, individuals must be employed and enrolled in the LTD plan before the onset of the disability.

Own-Occupation vs. Any-Occupation

LTD policies may define disability in different ways. Some policies provide benefits if the claimant is unable to perform the duties of their own occupation, while others require the inability to work in any occupation for which they are reasonably suited by education, training, or experience.

Long-Term Disability Application

Elimination Period

LTD policies typically include an elimination period, which is a waiting period before benefits are paid. This period can range from 30 days to one year, during which the claimant must be disabled and unable to work.

Medical Evidence

Like SSD claims, LTD claims require medical evidence to support the disability. Claimants may need to provide medical records, physician statements, and other documentation to demonstrate the severity of their condition.

Key Differences Between SSD and LTD Claims

The following are important distinctions between SSDI and LTD claims.

Source of Benefits

SSD benefits are provided by the federal government through the Social Security Administration, while LTD benefits are provided by private insurance companies or employer-sponsored plans.

Eligibility Requirements

While both SSD and LTD claims require proof of disability, the eligibility criteria, including work history and coverage, may differ between the two programs.

Duration of Benefits

SSD benefits continue until the individual’s condition improves, they return to work, or they reach retirement age and transition to Social Security retirement benefits. LTD benefits may have a limited duration, such as a specific number of years or until the individual reaches retirement age, depending on the terms of the insurance policy.

Interaction with Other Benefits

SSD benefits may be offset by other sources of income, such as workers’ compensation or other disability benefits. LTD benefits may also be affected by other sources of income, including SSD benefits and retirement benefits.

Contact Ascend Disability Today!

Navigating the complexities of Social Security Disability and Long-Term Disability claims requires a comprehensive understanding of the eligibility criteria, application process, and nuances of each program. At Ascend Disability, we specialize in assisting individuals with disabilities in pursuing the benefits they deserve.

Whether you’re applying for SSD benefits or seeking assistance with an LTD claim, our experienced attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today at (855) 445-9787 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you ascend to financial security despite the challenges of disability.

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