All You Should Know About Disability Insurance for the Unemployed

If you’re unable to work owing to illness, pregnancy or non – industrial injury, you can be eligible to receive disability insurance benefits.

Various government sponsored schemes provides monetary assistance to workers who are unable to pursue work due to disability. There are a number of disability insurance and other ancillary programs which provide both monetary and nonmonetary support.

What is Disability?

A physical or mental illness or an injury which stops or hampers customary work is disability. Short term disability programs will provide assistance from a few months to a few years while long term schemes extend assistance for an ailment that affects for years or perhaps for a lifetime which stop at retirement age.

It is paramount for you to be well acquainted with the various disability programs with a view to make use of it when you need the most. Most of the disability related benefits begin on the date you file the claim and not from the date the disability occurred. Also, there may be a waiting period for the benefits to begin. In order to understand the nature of such conditions, being self educated is important.

Disability Insurance – Eligibility

The following are the requirements to qualify for disability insurance.

  • The applicant must be employed or be keenly looking for work at the time of becoming disabled.
  • The disability condition must make you unfit to work for at least eight consecutive days.
  • Loss of regular wages must be due to disability.
  • One must meet the minimum wage requirement during the previous period and SDI should be deducted from the wages earned.
  • Applicant should be under treatment from a registered doctor or recognised religious practitioner during the first eight days of disability. Continuity in treatment is necessary for receipt of benefits.  
  • The applicant form and procedure should be duly submitted within 49 days of becoming disabled.

How to File?

1) Secure copy of a disability compensation application form. The form can be downloaded and printed from the website of the labor dept in your state.

2) Fill relevant details in the section/fields meant to be filled by you only. Some of the fields will need details from the doctor who is treating you as per his records. Dates of hospitalisation and treatment details may be required.

3) The doctor/practitioner treating you should fill his part and provide consent by signing. They must provide specific details and diagnosis of the medical treatment.

4) Have your employer fill their section of the form. They should provide accurate details of your employment and wages earned.

5) After checks, send the form to the Department of Labor, Temporary Disability wing (TDI) and wait for processing as per timelines prescribed. If there is any shortcoming, the authorities will keep you posted.

The disability programs provide you a recurring sum on a monthly basis instead of a lump sum with a view to balance expenses. To match inflation and other affecting components, the payout component may altered. Two of the most popular programs under disability insurance are  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI)

The social security disability benefits may be obtained at any time, unlike retirement benefits. If your salary had tax deductions that contributed towards the fund, you can receive benefits for serious physical and mental ailments endorsed by a registered medical practitioner. SSDI does not cover short term or partial disability.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

This system covers with little income or no assets or citizens who may have never worked. The benefits under this scheme are funded by federal taxes(Abbott).


This health insurance scheme provides benefits for people aged 65 and above and also extended to citizens who have been on SSDI for 2 years. For some health conditions, instant eligibility is available with exception of mental ailments. Those who qualify for Medicare, a premium will be deducted from monthly SSDI check.


Is an health insurance program for those on SSI and is jointly funded by state and federal government. It is one of the largest programs in the country for medical and health related expenses for people with low income group.

Cobra Health Insurance

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) insurance is a program that mandates limited health insurance coverage after leaving employment to former employees, their spouses, dependent children and retirees.

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