Many labor unions have programs to help members who become disabled. They may have their own benefit programs, or they may help members apply for government disability benefits or benefits provided by an employer.
Unions who help clients apply for government benefits from programs such as Social Security Disability (SSD) often look to external disability advocates to help them and their members obtain the benefits they need after a disability makes it impossible to work. The advocates, who are often attorneys and other specialists, are able to help disabled union members coordinate their SSD benefits with employer and union-provided benefit packages to maximize compensation. Professional advocates also understand the SSD application and appeals processes thoroughly, and will shepherd union members' claims through the SSD system.
An Experienced Advocate Who Knows Unions
At Binder & Binder ®, we have been advocating for the disabled since 1975. More important, we know unions. All of our associates are members of the United Service Workers union and are glad to use their knowledge and experience to help other union workers obtain SSD benefits. We know that not being able to work is highly frustrating, especial to people who have always worked so hard. Our slogan, "Better and nicer," tells you how we treat everyone, including fellow union members. We will guide you through the SSD system to get needed benefits and will work with your union to coordinate benefits.
Benefits Available to Union Members
Injured union members who seek SSD benefits may be able to receive:
- Monthly income
- Medical benefits after 24 months
- Prescription drug coverage after 24 months
- Extended COBRA benefits
- Dependent benefits for minor children
In addition to helping members obtain these Social Security Disability benefits, some unions also provide interim disability benefits. SSD kicks in when someone has been or expects to be disabled for a year or more; unions providing their own disability benefits usually pay them to disabled members during the waiting period. Some unions may also supplement SSD benefits.
Advocacy for All
Many disabled individuals, including disabled union members, believe that they cannot afford a professional advocate. After all, they have been unable to work for many weeks or months. The good news is that fees are regulated by the government and are taken from retroactive benefits - the benefits paid for the period after you became disabled but were not yet receiving benefits.
Eligibility for SSD
Union members are eligible for SSD benefits if they paid into the Social Security system through FICA taxes. Your disability does not need to be work-related. Rather, any disability caused by injury or illness that keeps you out of a job for at least a year (or is expected by a doctor to last at least a year) qualifies a worker for SSD.
Advocates such as those at Binder & Binder® can assist union members with SSD claims.