Caregiver with elderly man in wheelchairCaring for a disabled relative can be rewarding. Unfortunately, it can also be time-consuming, emotionally exhausting, and financially challenging – especially if you have to quit your job to assume the role of primary caregiver on a full-time basis. However, if your loved one worked in jobs that paid into Social Security before becoming disabled, they may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Keefe Disability Law’s knowledgeable and experienced Boston attorneys can help you apply for SSDI on behalf of a disabled family member and understand how monthly benefit payments can be used to help cover the cost of their care. Here’s what you should know.

When and How to Help a Disabled Loved One Apply for SSDI

Applying for SSDI can be complicated and confusing, even if you aren’t battling a disabling illness. If your disabled relative has significant cognitive impairments or struggles to accomplish basic tasks without assistance, there’s no need for them to try to fill out the SSDI application on their own – or at all. As their caregiver, you can complete the entire application and go through the evaluation process on their behalf. Submitting the completed application and supporting documentation online through the Social Security Administration (SSA) website is the easiest and fastest way to apply for SSDI. Our skilled disability attorneys can help you gather the medical evidence needed to support your family member’s claim for benefits.

How SSDI Can Benefit Disabled Individuals and Those Who Care for Them 

SSDI provides monthly payments, including back pay, to severely disabled individuals who’ve worked long enough – and recently enough – to amass sufficient work credits. Though SSDI doesn’t directly pay caregivers for their services, beneficiaries can use their monthly disability payments to help cover the cost of everyday living, as well as medical care, prescriptions, groceries, restaurant meals, gas, entertainment, and other expenses that might otherwise fall to you as their caregiver. If desired, SSDI beneficiaries can also use a portion of their monthly benefit payment to hire a home health service or a trusted friend or family member to provide care.

Other Ways to Get Paid for Caring for a Disabled Family Member 

Though SSA programs like SSDI don’t pay caregivers, there are government programs that do. One such program, known as Medicaid Self-Directed Care, lets qualifying participants (or their representatives) manage their own health services, including hiring family members as caregivers if they wish. Sadly, not all states participate in this popular program. Though we serve disabled individuals throughout Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, Medicaid Self-Directed Care options are only available to clients in Vermont. 

Additionally, some Veterans Affairs programs pay for caregivers for qualifying veterans. In some cases, these programs may allow veterans to choose a family member or friend to serve as their caregiver.

There’s Far Too Much at Stake to Go It Alone – Get Professional When Applying for SSDI for a Disabled Relative

Getting approved for the SSDI benefits your disabled loved one needs and deserves can feel like an uphill battle. The SSA denies approximately 70 percent of initial claims, often due to preventable errors or omissions in the application paperwork or a lack of sufficient medical evidence from acceptable medical sources (AMS). Don’t risk having to appeal a denied claim or complete another application and apply for a second time – both of which can add months or even years to your disabled family member’s wait for benefits. Keefe Disability Law’s exceptional legal team can provide valuable assistance and insight at every stage of the SSDI application process.

Schedule a Consultation

Have a question about applying for SSDI on behalf of a disabled loved one and how we can help? Complete the online contact form or call 508-283-5500 to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team. To learn more, request a complimentary instant download of our book, Unlocking the Mystery: The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process.

Patrick Hartwig
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Managing Attorney, Keefe Disability Law