If a person in New York becomes disabled for an extended period of time and cannot work, he or she may rely on private long-term disability benefits to make ends meet financially. However, the federal government also provides disabled workers with Social Security disability benefits, if the worker qualifies. Therefore, it is important to understand how private long-term disability benefits compare to Social Security disability benefits.
One thing to keep in mind is that private long-term disability programs and Social Security disability benefits define “complete disability” very differently. For example, in general in order to seek long-term disability benefits through a private policy, the applicant’s disability must have kept the applicant from being able to work at the same job he or she had when the disability began. However, in order to seek Social Security disability benefits, an applicant must be entirely unable to perform any sort of job duties at any job for which he or she is qualified. This is a much stricter definition of disability.
Also, some Social Security disability programs are income-dependent, meaning that a person’s income must be below a certain level in order to qualify for benefits. Depending on the circumstances, income could include long-term disability benefits. Also, depending on the plan, if a person is receiving Social Security disability benefits it could affect the benefits he or she could obtain via a long-term disability policy.
Sometimes, it is best to wait to pursue Social Security disability benefits. Even so, if this is what a person decides to do, he or she may still want to notify the Social Security Administration that he or she intends to file for Social Security disability benefits. This notification is important as it creates what is known as a “protective filing date,” and it could impact how much back pay a person would receive from the Social Security Administration.
This is only a very basic overview of the differences between private long-term disability benefits and Social Security disability benefits. Those who need a more detailed explanation of these programs and how they affect each other may want to consult with a professional for legal advice, which this post does not provide.
Source: Disability Benefits Help, “How Does Social Security Disability Income Directly Affect Long Term Disability,” April 16, 2012