SSDI: Is It Really Working?
SSDI can be a powerful tool for workers unable to continue their jobs because of a disability or illness. But does filing for SSDI in Memphis really solve the problems it’s meant to fix?
The Way SSDI Is Supposed to Work
According to the lawmakers who helped reform SSDI in the 70s, the SSDI program was “designed to provide a positive assurance that the nation’s aged, blind and disabled people would no longer have to subsist on below-poverty-level incomes.”
It works as an insurance program. Over the years as you work, you pay a certain amount into the system. This usually comes out of your paycheck in taxes before you ever see it. Then, years later, if you become injured or disabled, you can apply to receive benefits from this insurance program.
For decades, SSDI has made sure people have an income when they can’t work. Unlike other federal programs, it generally pays for itself.
However, some people are calling on the federal government to make changes to the SSDI program in order to make it better at the very thing it was designed to do.
Does SSDI Hurt Gig Workers?
The rules around SSDI adjust every year for inflation. That means the amount you receive, and the income you are allowed to make on the side while still receiving benefits, go up a little each year.
But some workers claim the hard and fast rules guiding SSDI don’t apply as well to our modern gig economy.
In recent years, many more people work for themselves or for services that allow you to set your own schedule. For injured and disabled workers, this means you might be able to make $5000 on a short-term job while you’re feeling well. But then you might not have any income for the rest of the year because you have a flare-up, need a complicated surgery, etc.
That type of lifestyle doesn’t really work in the SSDI system. SSDI only allows you to make a certain amount of money per month if you still want to receive benefits.
Recently the New York Times gave another example: an actor who might be able to earn some side income with one role, but it would be over the income limit. Even though she might not work at all for the rest of the year, she had to turn down these short-term jobs. She didn’t want to lose health care or her ability to receive benefits she desperately needs most of the time.
Filing for SSDI in Memphis: How It Can Help You
As you can see from the examples above, the SSDI system isn’t perfect. The gig economy has changed the way we work, and some programs may need to be updated as a result. However, it can make a huge difference for anyone too injured or disabled to continue their normal careers.
SSDI does help keep thousands of people out of poverty and desperate situations. It’s a valuable insurance program that pays for itself and adjusts for inflation each year.
As a Memphis SSDI lawyer, if there was one thing I could tell SSDI applicants, it would be not to give up if you really need it. The process takes a bit, and it can be annoying, but I’ve seen it change people’s lives. In fact, I’ve even written a free guide to applying for SSDI.
You should keep in mind the SSA denies the majority of applications on the first try. When that happens, you have 60 days to appeal. You’ll want an attorney to help you fix whatever was wrong with the initial application and represent you through the process. Fortunately, SSDI lawyers don’t get paid a thing unless you win. Even then, it’s a small percentage of back payments.
If you apply and get a denial, you should call me ASAP to get started. Just give me a call today at 901-327-2100 or fill out the form below.