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Could you become disabled?

Few people ever believe they will become disabled. The proof of this is in the low rate of persons paying for private, long-term disability insurance. According to one report, in 2010, 100 million workers had no private disability insurance. Workers also substantially underestimate their likelihood of becoming disabled, believing they have a 2 percent chance, when it is actually 25 percent.

This is also a reflection of the fact that many employers do not provide disability insurance, or if they offer it, it is very expensive and may only pay a low percentage of an active workers salary. This means for most workers, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is likely the only potential disability insurance they are eligible for, should they become unable to work.

The application for SSD benefits may seem relatively straightforward. SSA needs information on your medical condition that underlies your disability. They also need to know what your work experience and work-related training consist of, in order to determine how your disability affects the work you had been doing.

And they will want to know about your educational background, to further investigate the types of jobs you could perform.

The element of the application for disability benefits that often results in a denial of your claim is the lack of sufficient medical documentation of your disability.

If you have a collection of symptoms that has left you out of work, there may be various causes, and while you may have one element of those symptoms, such as a back injury that is reasonably well documented, other conditions or medical problems may be missing the detail needed for the claims examiner to approve your benefits.

It is important to ensure that your application presents a complete and current picture of your health, and that there are not significant gaps that make your claim questionable.

Source: disablitycanhappen.org, "Disability statistics," July 3, 2013

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