Unemployment Benefits Exhausted, More Americans Turning to Disability

With many people out of work due to the current economic situation, the pressure of financial obligations is abundant. A recent study has confirmed that many Americans find themselves in dire straits. The study found that many Americans whose unemployment benefits have been exhausted are seeking to receive Social Security disability benefits to keep themselves financially afloat.

The study, reported in the Wall Street Journal, found that 10 percent of Americans between the ages of 50 and 65 who did not have access to at least $5,000 applied for Social Security disability benefits when their unemployment benefits were about to be exhausted.

The number of people applying for disability benefits increased as unemployment benefits ran out; only one percent in this age range applied for disability when there were 50 weeks of unemployment benefits left.

About Social Security Disability Benefits and Eligibility

Some people who collect unemployment benefits are eligible to collect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

SSDI benefits are intended to compensate adults and minors who are unable to work because of a condition or impairment. Therefore, in order to qualify for benefits, the applicant's condition must meet the Social Security Administration's definition of disability.

According to the Social Security Administration's website, an adult is disabled if he or she is unable to "engage in any substantial gainful work activity because of a medically-determinable physical or mental impairment:"

  • That is expected to cause death, or
  • That has lasted or is expected to last for more than a year

Applying for SSD Benefits

If you are an adult applying for benefits, you can apply online at the website of the Social Security Administration. This is by far the fastest method. However, if you prefer, you can contact your local office of the Social Security Administration and make an appointment to apply in person.

Since the application and the evaluation process that follows can be fairly complex, it is important to seek the assistance and advice of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney.