Alternative sources of disability benefits

Receiving benefits through Social Security isn’t the only route to go if you’re are disabled. Here are two alternatives:

Private disability insurance

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 33% of workers had long-term disability insurance in 2014, while 39% had a short-term insurance plan.

Disability insurance is offered by many employers, and typically holds significant advantages over federally-funded SSDI. For one, the qualifications for what determines a disability are much less stringent, and an individual is not burdened with proving the nature of their disability to such an extreme degree.

However, the definition of “disability” that decides whether you may receive payments varies from plan to plan. Some plans offer benefits for those limited to performing only some of their job duties, while others only award benefits to those completely unable to work, as in the case of SSDI. One more bonus is that you may be able to receive private insurance payments in tandem with SSDI payments.

Of course, the downside to private disability insurance is that you’ll need to have acquired it before becoming disabled, either by employment through a company that offers it, or having previously signed up for a plan on your own.

State disability benefits programs

In the United States, only five states offer disability insurance funded by state taxes. These are: California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth, also provides its own disability insurance.