Most people don't think they'll be in a position where they can no longer work. Unfortunately, accidents, injuries and illnesses are all facts of life. If you ever become unable to work, you'll find yourself facing an uncertain future.

Luckily, there are safeguards in place to protect members of society who experience disabilities and lose the ability to work - particularly Social Security disability benefits. You deserve to reap those benefits and continue to ensure you and your family members survive and thrive, even if, through no fault of your own, you become unable to work.

No one plans on becoming disabled - but in the case of potential disabilities, it's better to be safe than sorry. To help you out, your employer could offer you two key types of disability insurance: short-term and long-term disability. We'll give you a brief overview of both types and discuss when you should apply for each one, and why.

What Is the Difference Between Short-Term and Long-Term Disability?

The physical differences between short- and long-term disabilities are fairly clear. For instance, an amputated limb is likely to remain a long-term disability, while pregnancy and childbirth can cause injuries and illnesses that fall under the category of short-term disability.

You can only get short-term disability insurance through your employer. You may have also signed up for long-term disability insurance if your employer offered it; if not, or if your employer didn't give you a long-term disability option, you'll have to apply for disability benefits through Social Security.

A handful of states have short-term disability programs, including Hawaii, California, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. Otherwise, you'll need to look elsewhere for short-term disability compensation.

How Long Do Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Last?

The amount of time you'll be paid benefits for short-term disability can vary based on your employer and injury. In general, though, you can expect short-term disability to pay a portion of your income (usually 60 percent) for up to three months. Some policies last for up to a year. If you think you'll need to go on short-term disability leave, talk to your employer to learn about your company's specific policies.

Remember that if you have long-term disability, it won't kick in until after your short-term disability time period runs out.

What Type of Disability Insurance Does Social Security Cover?

Social Security only pays for long-term disability, not short-term. In most states, you can only get short-term disability insurance from your employer or by finding a policy through your own efforts. Similarly, you can buy your own long-term disability insurance or, in some cases, get it through your employer.

How Hard Is It to Get Long-Term Disability Benefits From Social Security?

Unfortunately, if you don't have long-term disability benefits from your employer, you could have to wait a while to start receiving Social Security benefits. According to data from the Social Security Administration, 53 percent of disability claims were denied between 2001 and 2010. However, if your claim is initially denied, you can always reapply.

When Should You Pursue a Social Security Disability Claim?

Right after an injury occurs, you might not know how long your injury will last, nor how devastating it will prove to be to your daily life. If your short-term disability benefits have run out and you don't have long-term disability benefits through your employer, turn to a lawyer for extra help as you pursue a Social Security disability claim.

At Provizer & Phillips PC, we help our clients seek just compensation for their disabilities so they and their families can continue to live comfortably. If you live in the Detroit area, get in touch with us and schedule a consultation today. 

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