Learning the full extent of potential disability benefits is critical when you become unable to work. One of my clients referred a woman who had just stopped working as a cafeteria aide because of a host of orthopedic problems and asthma. The aide was desperate because she had no idea how she would be able to pay her bills. The client who referred the aide to me told her that I could help her get Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits, just as I had helped her obtain them. However, when I met with the aide she was in for a little surprise.
Upon our initial meeting, I refreshed the aide’s recollection that she had a short term disability policy through Aflack. She immediately applied, and shortly thereafter started receiving benefits under that policy, which provided a sense of relief while she awaited the progression of her SSD application. However, the aide was in for a further surprise.
I had asked the aide if she had a long term disability (“LTD”) plan through her employer, but she did not know, so I advised her to request a copy of her LTD plan summary plan from her human relations department. It turns out that she does in fact have an LTD plan that can pay up to 60% of her salary, which significantly exceeds her SSD benefit. There was yet another surprise.
During our initial meeting, I asked the aide if she belonged to a union. After learning that she did, and that she had contributed to a pension, I suggested that she request a copy of her union’s summary description of the pension plan. It turns out that she will be entitled to receive a disability pension in addition to her other benefits.
When you can no longer work, always investigate what group benefits plans your employer or union have. Besides disability benefits, some plans provide for continued pension credits if disabled, premium waivers for life or health insurance benefits and so on.Previous Next
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