Receiving a dementia diagnosis can be profoundly distressing, not only due to the emotional and physical challenges it brings, but also because of the significant financial strain associated with the condition. Fortunately, there are valuable public dementia disability benefits programs in place, such as Social Security Insurance and Social Security Disability Insurance, designed to alleviate some of this financial pressure.
In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of what these programs entail, the qualification criteria, and the ways in which a seasoned New Jersey elder law attorney can expertly guide you through the process to secure the benefits you rightfully deserve.
Social Security Insurance vs. Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Insurance (SSI) is a needs-based program, designed to provide financial support to low-income individuals. To qualify for this program, applicants must meet stringent financial criteria and be either 65 years of age or older, blind, or living with a disability. It is worth noting that eligibility for SSI often goes hand-in-hand with qualifying for Medicaid, thereby offering a comprehensive support system for those in need.
On the other hand, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) operates under a different set of guidelines. This program extends monthly financial assistance to individuals who are deemed “insured.” This “insured” status is a reflection of having engaged in a certain duration of work while concurrently contributing to Social Security taxes. Importantly, SSDI eligibility is not contingent upon income levels, but rather hinges on the individual’s “insured” status and the presence of a qualifying disability.
How Can You Qualify For Dementia Disability Benefits?
Under federal law, an individual is deemed disabled if they are unable to perform their previous work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines they cannot adjust to other forms of work, and the disability is expected to persist for at least one year. For many individuals, dementia fits this definition.
Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia can be overwhelming, but SSI and SSDI can provide much-needed financial support. One beneficial legal provision is the compassionate allowance (CAL). The CAL was advocated for by the Alzheimer’s Association, and allows for expedited processing of SSI and SSDI claims for those with severe medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, adult-onset Huntington disease, Lewy body dementia, and more.
To qualify for CAL, individuals must provide comprehensive medical records from their doctor, confirming a diagnosis of progressive dementia. The CAL program simplifies the application process for SSDI and SSI, thus enabling individuals with dementia to channel their energy into vital aspects of their lives, such as medical care and spending cherished moments with loved ones.
I can attest that delaying the application process for SSDI could potentially result in a loss of benefits. Therefore, enlisting the assistance of a skilled attorney can be invaluable in ensuring that your application is completed promptly and accurately, maximizing your chances of receiving the support you need.
How Can Social Security Insurance Benefit You?
SSI and SSDI are invaluable in compensating for the loss of income that may result from being unable to work due to dementia or other related conditions. These benefits can significantly lighten the financial load shouldered by individuals and their families during such challenging times.
Crucially, SSI benefits can be utilized to offset the costs associated with necessary care and services. The significance of SSI and SSDI becomes even more pronounced when considering the high expenses often involved in long-term care—a cost not typically covered by many insurance policies, including Medicare.
It’s also worth noting that meeting the eligibility criteria for SSI often simultaneously qualifies an individual for Medicaid. This is particularly advantageous as Medicaid can provide coverage for a range of care costs, both long-term and short-term. Therefore, accessing SSI and SSDI can play a pivotal role in alleviating the financial pressures faced by those in need of long-term care.
Working With An Elder Law Attorney
In conclusion, while SSI and SSDI provide a crucial financial lifeline for those dealing with dementia, navigating the intricacies of these programs can be challenging. The complexities of the application process, coupled with the stringent eligibility criteria, can be overwhelming.
This is where the expertise of a seasoned elder law attorney proves invaluable. An experienced attorney can demystify the process, ensuring that all necessary documentation is in order, and significantly increasing your chances of a successful outcome. By enlisting the services of a skilled New Jersey elder law attorney, individuals and their families can focus on what truly matters—managing the condition and cherishing valuable time together, while the attorney handles the complexities of securing the benefits they deserve.
If you have any questions about the SSI and SSDI process, The Chamberlain Law Firm is here to help the good people of New York and New Jersey. Give us a call today at (201) 273-9763 for a consultation. For more advice on dementia and public assistance, be sure to check out our Insight Articles.