Are there any disability benefits controlled at the state level?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Most disability benefits programs, like Social Security Disability Insurance, are run on the federal level. However, there are a few states that offer their own disability benefits programs specific to residents of their jurisdiction.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is one of the federal disability programs that can help qualified workers who become disabled due to a medical condition or physical injury. SSDI is available in every state within the United States. These federal disability benefits will pay out on a long-term basis and to be eligible, your condition must be sufficiently severe and long term or it must be terminal.

There are a few states that offer state-funded disability programs in addition to Social Security Disability Insurance. The five states that offer protection for disabled individuals include California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. Employees throughout the rest of the United States rely solely on the Social Security Administration, as well as on employer or private disability programs. The qualification requirements for disability benefits within these five states differ greatly depending on the state. In some instances, the state-run programs are used for shorter term periods of disability, such as for surgical recovery or other temporary conditions. They may supplement SSDI but are not generally an alternative to such disability benefits.

If you are disabled and unable to work, consult with a lawyer in your state who can explain all available disability programs to you. When you apply for SSDI or other disability benefits it’s not uncommon to have your initial application denied, so it’s also important to have a lawyer who can help you gather the evidence you need for a successful claim. A lawyer can also act as your advocate during the appeals process if an appeal becomes necessary.

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