Can I Collect SSDI if I’m a Government Employee?

Social Security Card

Image courtesy of 401(K) 2012 via flickr

Yes, under certain conditions.

Not all government employees are covered by Social Security. When Social Security was initially established, it did not cover government employees. However, things have been changing over the years.

Now, some government employees are covered by a public retirement pension program; some are covered by both Social Security and public pensions; and some are covered by Social Security alone.

One of the easiest ways to check to see if you can receive Social Security benefits is to check your paycheck. If you see money withheld from your paycheck going towards Social Security or FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax) that means you are contributing to Social Security and deserve the benefits you have been paying for all along.

What is SSDI exactly?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a disability benefits program offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for those with qualifying conditions. Not to be confused with Workers’ Compensation, SSDI is a program funded by every working American (look at your last paycheck and you’ll notice the FICA with-holdings–those go to help fund SSDI). The key difference between Worker’s Compensation and SSDI is that Worker’s Compensation covers you for work related injuries that your employer would be liable for (i.e. job site injuries for construction workers or carpal tunnel syndrome in office workers).  While SSDI is not paid through your employer, it can still help make up for lost income.

But, just because you have paid into Social Security does not mean you automatically get SSDI benefits. For SSDI, you need to qualify to receive benefits. Learn more about how you can qualify for SSDI here.

Which programs are available?

The three primary compensation programs available to federal and postal employees are: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), and federal disability retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Additionally, there are VA disability benefits for veterans who qualify.

The programs you can qualify for depend on what position you hold as well as how your state has chosen to set up its employee coverage. The simplest way to understand your Social Security or Medicare benefits is to contact your state Social Security administrator. Your state administrator’s contact information can be found online, at the NCSSSA website.

What are the facts on SSDI?

  • One in every four of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.
  • As of 2008, over a quarter of state and local government employees, or 6.6 million people, were not covered by Social Security.
  • According to the IRS, one in four public employees are not covered by Social Security. The majority of these uncovered government public employees are police officers, firefighters and teachers.
  • The yearly number of SSDI applications is at an all time high while the Social Security Administration’s resources remain limited. Because of this, more than 60% of initial applications are denied and in the reconsideration stage, the number jumps to well over 80%.
  • According to the SSA, more than 8.8 million workers currently draw Social Security Disability benefits.

Still confused?

Navigating Social Security and government websites is never easy. That’s where we can help.

It’s very likely that this is your first time being in this situation, but this is our business; we represent clients that get SSDI benefits consistently.

book with drop-Recovered

So if you need help understanding or applying for benefits, gives us a call at (801)890-1030. Or, get your free copy of our Utah Social Security Disability Handbook.

Having professional legal representation in a SSDI case will help you understand what to do next and what the SSA expects from your application. Leave the work to us and we will guarantee our best efforts in getting you the compensation you need to carry on with your life.