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.