Four months ago, a 61 year old crane operator with shoulder and knee problems that prevented him from working contacted me to file his application for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits. At the time, he was already receiving federal workers compensation benefits, and I asked him if he was also receiving disability benefits from his employer or union. While he knew that all of his benefits came through the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 14B, he was unaware of any potential disability benefits through them.
I asked the claimant to get copies of his benefit booklets from the union. Turns out that his Summary Plan Description (“SPD”) for his pension fund does provide for benefits if he becomes disabled and the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) finds that he cannot work.
The claimant’s SSD application was approved today. As a result, he can now seek a disability award pension from the union. If you are a member of a union and become disabled, always request your SPD to see if you may potentially be entitled to receive disability benefits from your union as well as from the SSA.