Disabled Struggling in Down Economy

Trying to land a job is hard enough. Trying to land a job when you suffer from a permanent disability is even harder. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's twice as difficult for a disabled person to find employment. While the job market was healthier prior to the recent recession, many with disabilities often find themselves the first to go during a layoff, which leaves them with no alternative but to apply for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits.

Once approved, Social Security pays for much-needed medical care for people who suffer from permanent disabilities that run the gamut from developmental to physical and psychiatric. While many find more satisfaction working, employer health plans are often insufficient to cover their needs, and because of layoffs or sheer medical need, many seek out SSD benefits.

Applying for disability benefits requires a lengthy application process with the Social Security Administration for either disability insurance or supplemental security income (SSI). In both cases an individual must supply medical records showing the nature of the disability and proof that the condition exists. Approval can often take months, if not more than a year.

SSDI is for people who become disabled after having already contributed to Social Security. SSI is for people who require benefits based on financial need. Keep in mind that Social Security will only pay to people who are totally and permanently disabled.

To apply, an applicant should go to the nearest Social Security office. If denied benefits, an applicant can appeal. At any point in the SSD process, an applicant can seek the advice of a Massachusetts SSD attorney to help answer questions about the path to disability benefits.