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Proposed bill could cut SSD wait times for some

Michigan residents are probably well aware of the value of receiving benefits for a disability. Social Security Disability benefits can provide comfort and a sense of relief, allowing an individual to focus on what really matters: his or her health and family.

But what happens if an individual is suddenly struck with a terminal illness and is no longer able to work? As the law is now, that individual would be subjected to the five month wait time that all SSD benefit claimants must wait before benefits are paid out.

Why five months? When Social Security laws were first drafted, Congress created the five month wait period to give time to allow short-term illnesses and injuries to pass, and to discourage those who truly are capable of working from seeking benefits. However, as far too many struggling individuals know, this wait time is more than they can handle.

This is why two U.S. Senators have introduced a bill that would eliminate the wait time for those suffering from terminal diseases. Under the proposed bill, claimants would receive 50 percent of their benefits in the first month of disbursement, 75 percent in the second month, and then the full 100 percent each month after that. In the event that the claimant lived beyond a year, his or her benefits would be cut back in the second year to balance out was received over the first five months, putting the individual more in-line with what others receive at those points.

Unfortunately, this bill is not yet law, and those seeking compensation for their disabilities still must wait. However, this area of the law is constantly evolving, giving rise to new problems and opportunities. So, those who think they may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits may want to consider discussing the matter with an experienced attorney who may be able to provide guidance.

Source: Cleveland.com, "If you're terminally ill, you still must wait for Social Security benefits," Stephen Koff, Sep. 9, 2015

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