Robert D. Paulbeck, Attorney at Law
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Are there disability benefits for gig workers?

Being a gig worker comes with many perks like flexible schedules, negotiating pay terms and working for multiple clients at once. But those who work these jobs miss out on perks like employer-sponsored insurance and workers' compensation benefits that many salaried workers enjoy. Disability payments are another benefit for which many gig workers might not think they're eligible — but they may be.

Both part-time and gig workers qualify to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), an income replacement coverage administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Although the term "insurance" in the SSDI acronym gives the impression that you must purchase this coverage, you actually pay into the program every time you remit your self-employment taxes or each time you have Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) contributions taken out.

Gig workers in Trenton generally need to have paid self-employment or FICA payroll taxes during five of the last 10 years in order to qualify for SSDI. A gig worker will need to have a condition that the SSA deems to be a disability, be unable to work for at least one year and make at least $1,360 per quarter to be eligible to receive SSDI.

With workers' compensation, employees are only eligible to receive lost wages and medical payments from an employer if the injury occurred on their premises while they were working for them. The same doesn't hold true for SSDI. These benefits can instead be used to replace your income across various employers or clients.

Depending on the severity of their injury and other factors, individuals in Michigan who qualify for SSDI may see their access to other government benefits, e.g., Medicare, moved up from the standard age of 65.

When workers file for disability payments, they often get denied on their first attempts. It's important to understand that when this occurs, it isn't the end of the process. An SSDI attorney with decades of experience litigating these cases can handle all the steps to give you the best chance of getting your application or appeal approved.

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