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Law for SSD benefits would eliminate wait for terminally ill

Social Security disability benefits for illness are available to those who meet the requirements under federal regulations. This is true for Floridians and people throughout the U.S. There are, however, numerous concerns for people regarding their disability status and how long they will have to wait to begin receiving benefits. For someone who might be terminally ill or in immediate need, this can be a worrisome problem.

Regardless of whether or not a person is terminally ill, cannot work, and qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), there will be a wait for SSD benefits. The wait time is five months and no person is immune from the wait time. If the person is suffering from a terminal illness, he or she might die without receiving the benefits. Congress has been aware of this and tried to deal with the problem with bills in 2013 and 2011. They were never passed.

Recently there has been an attempt to reintroduce a bill to deal with this problem. When Social Security was enacted in the 1950s, the idea of the waiting period was that an illness that wasn't of the long-term variety would improve during the waiting period and would stop those who are capable of working from applying if they didn't really need SSD benefits.

Financial concerns about SSDI and Social Security disability in general are also concerning when it comes to making changes to the law. The new law would dispense with the waiting period if a person's illness was such that they are expected to die within six months or fewer and if two physicians verify that fact. Those who are approved would get 50 percent of their benefits in the first month and 75 percent in the second. After that, they would receive full benefits.

Those who live past a year would have their benefits cut in the second year by an amount that equates to what was paid in the first five months. Those who live into a third year would receive 95 percent of their full benefits.

Considering all the issues that a person who is diagnosed with a terminal illness must face, dealing with a denied SSD benefits claim, or having to wait for benefits, can cause more worries for the ill person. Speaking to an attorney about SSD benefits can help an applicant understand how the SSA functions and how to go about applying for benefits.

Source: Cleveland.com, "If you're terminally ill, you still must wait for Social Security benefits," Stephen Koff, Sept. 9, 2015

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