Saturday, June 19, 2010

Firefighter Gets SSD Benefits

It is common knowledge among firefighters that if they become unable to work because of an injury or illness, then they may apply for a monthly disability retirement benefit from their pension. However, many firefighters are surprised to learn that they may also be eligible for a monthly Social Security Disability ("SSD") benefit.

I represent a retired firefighter who reluctantly came to see me after he was referred by another retired firefighter whose SSD benefits I secured. The firefighter was under the impression that he was not entitled to SSD benefits because he was not "totally disabled," which he equated with being an invalid or bedridden. I explained why he misunderstood the standard for receiving SSD benefits, and
subsequently submitted his application.

Yesterday, I received the firefighter's fully favorable decision. My "on-the-record" request to approve his application was granted, which meant that he was not required to testify at a hearing. Unfortunately, because of the firefighter's misapprehension regarding his rights, he applied for SSD benefits four and a half years after he became disabled and unable to work. Consequently, the firefighter forfeited a large five figure sum worth of SSD benefits.

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