By Steve Perrigo, J.D.

COVID-19 Draws Spotlight To SSDI, Which Unlocks Substantial Benefits Beyond Monthly Income

In this post-COVID era, many Americans are all too aware that they could be the victim of a life-threatening illness, injury or disability that could remove them from the workforce. As a result, American workers are becoming familiar with protections inherent to their work that can help them sustain themselves and their families in this event.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal government program that workers pay into with their FICA payroll taxes. When you’re approved for benefits, by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you get monthly income to provide for yourself and your family. If you’ve heard of this program, what you may not know is that SSDI is the gateway to a range of benefits far beyond monthly income.

These significant protections include:

  • Lump-Sum Retroactive Payment. SSDI allows retroactive payments for a maximum of 12 months prior to the application, which may result in a lump-sum payment.
  • Dependent Benefits. SSDI approval can activate benefits for your children under the age of 18, adding up to 50% more income to your monthly payments.
  • Medicare Coverage. You’re eligible for this medical, hospital and prescription drug coverage 24 months after your SSDI benefits begin.
  • LTD Protection. If you have private long-term disability (LTD) insurance, the policy probably requires you to apply for SSDI. Doing this can protect the continuation of your LTD benefits.
  • Retirement Benefits. Approval for SSDI triggers a Social Security earnings record freeze that can result in a higher retirement income.
  • Cost-of-Living Adjustment. SSDI benefits include a cost-of-living adjustment, which is assessed annually and could increase your monthly payment.
  • Return to Work. There are incentives if you return to work, including free help from a certified Employment Network, protection from a continuing disability review (CDR), and continuing to receive SSDI benefits for a period.
  • COBRA Extension. The length of your COBRA health benefits could be extended an additional 11 months.

This vital package of benefits is gaining visibility as the American workforce and employers grapple with repercussions of this complex virus, COVID-19, especially for those who develop long-term health complications.

Many people have underestimated the value of SSDI benefits. This program is far-reaching and can even help you get back to work when you’ve medically recovered enough to do so. Learning about these little-known protections is part of the due diligence of knowing how to provide for yourself and your family when the unexpected strikes.

Steve Perrigo, J.D., is Vice President & Head of Sales and Account Management. He joined Allsup in 2010 following 17 years with the Social Security Administration (SSA) in various roles of increasing responsibility, including Claims Representative, Technical Expert, Operations Supervisor and Assistant District Manager. Steve leads Allsup’s national account sales activities and provides consultative guidance to client companies by analyzing complex data sets that compare performance against historical measures, Allsup’s business results and industry benchmarks. His consultation includes leveraging his prior experience with the SSA to identify and analyze macro-level trends with the Social Security Disability Insurance program and providing timely insights and client updates through channels such as Allsup’s commercial blog. Steve’s educational background includes a law degree from the Nashville School of Law, where he graduated in the top 10 of his class, and a bachelor’s degree from The State University of New York. He currently is an adjunct professor of Social Security Disability Law at the Nashville School of Law.

For a more in-depth look at this subject, read Steve's recent article in CMSA Today, "Value of Disability Insurance Emphasized in Post-COVID Work Life":