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Are you prepared if your illness leaves you disabled long term?

A general sense of invulnerability seems to dominate the American mindset. What else can explain the proliferation of extreme sports? If you can play it, there's some extreme form of it. And with such exploits comes higher risks of long term or permanent disability.

Social Security Disability Insurance is available for those who have paid into the system and have done so for a certain minimum amount of time. But just because it's there doesn't mean it's guaranteed. Many in Fresno reading this blog may not know, but claims are often denied. Managing the appeals process can drive an applicant to distraction without the help of an experienced advocate.

A view of the future that doesn't include the possibility of disability is not something that is unique. Most people go through their lives without ever thinking they might be laid low by a disabling injury or chronic illness that leaves them unable to work.

According to the Council for Disability Awareness, a group of 19 insurance companies, working people in the U.S. don't grasp how likely it is that they will become disabled by one cause or another. Statistically, the group observes, someone who is 20 years old today stands a 1 in 4 chance of becoming disabled before hitting retirement.

If you think that's just so much marketing hype, consider that those are the numbers the Social Security Administration uses, too.

A poll by the CDA has found that 64 percent of working Americans vastly underestimate their chances of suffering any form of long-term disability. Perhaps that's why so few people save for the possibility. The CDA speculates it may also be why many workers don't take advantage of long-term disability insurance coverage offered by employers. They think SSDI will be enough.

The CDA asks workers to consider whether they and their families can live on just over $1,100 a month? Because that is the average SSDI benefit currently. As has been noted, first claims for benefits often get denied and it can take years of appeal to get approved, even in cases where the right to benefits is clear.

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Melissa A. Proudian, Attorney at Law
1500 W. Shaw Avenue, Suite 403
Fresno, CA 93711

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