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Does Union Membership Affect My Eligibility for Social Security?


While union membership does not affect your eligibility for social security, what can be affected by union membership is the amount of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that you receive from the SSA. SSI is different than SSDI and is often confused with it. Most disabled persons who qualify for SSDI also qualify for at least some SSI benefits, in addition to union benefits. This provides threefold insurance for union workers, including two plans from the SSA, to protect union workers from the economic struggles that often accompany disability.

An experienced attorney can assist you in maximizing benefits when combining a union disability plan with SSDI. Furthermore, navigation through pension insurance plans can be complicated, and no less complicated and convoluted is the Social Security Administration’s system. Payment for attorney services is normally deducted from benefits received, so you can be assured that, besides concern for your advocacy, your attorney has a vested interest in helping you maximize benefits.

Similar Requirements for Union Benefits and SSDI Benefits

Several parallels exist between qualification for union disability benefits and qualification for Social Security benefits. Many union plans dictate that members meet Social Security’s definition of disabled and qualify for SSD benefits before they can qualify for union disability benefits. In this way, you will notice that, although union membership does not affect your eligibility for SSDI benefits, your eligibility for union disability benefits can be affected by Social Security.

Most union plans define disabled in the same way as Social Security. Many do not though, so a qualified disability attorney can guide you through the differences and how to answer application questions appropriately, so that you receive the benefits you deserve, as a disabled individual who has paid into a national insurance plan your entire working life.

Nearly all union insurance plans require that a member meet certain service requirements as well, similar, in principle, to Social Security’s point-based system for determining benefit amounts under SSDI. Both union plans and SSDI require a waiting period from the time a person became disabled before they can qualify for benefits. Proper coordination of benefit applications, though, can cover you financially and even provide you with a lump sum, backdated payment from SSA once your waiting period has passed and your application has been approved.

A Word on Workers’ Compensation

If you become disabled due to a work-related incident or conditions, workers’ compensation benefits you receive may affect your eligibility for full Social Security disability and supplemental security SSA payments. Lump sum benefits payable to you, such as back payments from a workers’ compensation settlement or private disability plan, risk misinterpretation by social security without proper representation and guidance through Social Security’s systems, methods and processes.

Eligibility for SSDI is not affected by union membership. Quite often, it is the other way around. Many factors that affect eligibility for SSDI also are factors upon which eligibility for union disability benefits are determined. SSI can offer some financial security during waiting periods while attempting to receive either union or SSA’s insurance payments. The Social Security Administration’s insurance program is wrought with complexities, and is a complicated and slow-moving maze that has not been updated in decades. Contacting a qualified attorney to maximize your union and social security benefits will typically help you to get more of the benefits you so justly deserve.

At Walton Disability we are here to assist the citizens of Mobile and Baldwin County, Alabama. Visit us for a free consultation regarding your case today!

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