Even though financial advisers and other planners frequently encourage Americans to build up a safety net of savings in the event an unexpected adverse circumstance occurs, the reality is that many Americans–Tennessee residents included–live paycheck to paycheck. Although many people get by rather successfully this way for years, and even decades, the reality is that a suddent inability to work that results from an unexpected disability can quickly shatter a person or family’s previously stable financial footing. It is in these situations when SSD benefits become invaluable in helping keep people out of poverty and homelessness.
A recipient of SSD benefits in Sequatchie County, Tennessee, recently enjoyed his first Thanksgiving holiday in many years in a home, instead of out on the streets. For the past seven years, the man struggled with life and finances and, as a result, was forced to live in homeless camps, motels and shelters. Just a few months ago, however, he began to get back on his feet, with the help of his new wife and his social security and disability benefits. Although his wife contributes to the family’s finances with her cleaning job, this man’s disability benefits also go toward paying the bills, which helps keep the two of them in their own home.
Many people misunderstand the Social Security disability system as a “hand-out,” but this is inaccurate. Anyone who has suffered a disability and a resulting inability to work should not hesitate to apply for benefits because it is their years of prior work history–and paying into the Social Security system–which entitles them to benefits in the first place.
Although making the decision to apply for benefits is the first step, simply applying does not guarantee that an applicant’s claim will be approved. The first requirement is establishing the requisite work history which shows that the applicant paid into the system long enough to now be eligible for benefits. After establishing that factor, an applicant must provide extensive documentation about the illness or injury and its effect on his or her ability to work. Because the process can be complicated and time-consuming, it is wise not only to seek the assistance of an attorney experienced with SS claims but also to begin the process as soon as possible.
Source: WRCBTV.com, “Former homeless man spends first Thanksgiving in a real home,” Sara Sidery, Nov. 27, 2014