When a dentist encounters disability due to an accident or illness they may be eligible for social security disability benefits. This program is there for a reason and can provide an income source that is reliable and substantial.  As a dentist you are able to apply for federal SSDI benefits if you can be considered disabled.  These benefits are age independent and can be applied for at any time.

Understand that as a dental professional, you should not rely on Social Security Disability as your primary source of support. Private Disability Insurance is absolutely critical and you must ensure you are always covered. Look at our posting on disability insurance for the facts.  DENTAL DISABILITY INSURANCE, WHAT’S BEST?   We know that 20% of dentists fail to obtain this coverage and are not protected at the time of their disabling accident or illness.  We hope they are already financially secure, but know that many are not.  Social Security is a life jacket for many and can provide some financial support. It should not be overlooked.

Be realistic about what SSDI can provide. As a practicing dentist you will be eligible for about $2000 dollars a month AT MOST.   It is doubtful that this amount will allow you to keep your present lifestyle.  This is why we are hopefully informing you of the situation BEFORE you become disabled.  Your benefits will continue to age 65-67 when they will likely switch to standard Social Security.   A very large number of Americans currently are on SSDI.   An entire legal industry has emerged over the years with the goal of obtaining benefits from the federal government.   For a fee paid by you.

As a government program there are many rules and regulations that will need to be followed. You will need to prove your disability is valid and you can no longer work. You will likely need to prove that you can no longer work in any capacity.  Unlike private insurance, you will probably not be able to do a desk job or enter another profession.  Of course many still work after being disabled, but they function on the edge dealing in cash only and not generating a reportable income.  You will need solid verification of your total disability.  This information will come from your medical providers and will need to support your claim of total disability.  There will be a waiting period before you can be approved and many claims will need to be officially reviewed/approved by a Federal Disability Judge.

Because of the tremendous number of fraudulent claims that are generated each year, all claims are carefully examined.  Many are approved anyway because of the sheer volume of claims that are submitted annually.  It is likely you will need to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney that specializes in disability law.  There is no shortage of these disability professionals and you will be able to select from thousands of options.  Be selective on who you choose and seek competitive offers.  This will be an important decision and should be carefully planned.  You will really need an attorney if your claim is disapproved and you are required to go through the appeals/reconsideration process.

Less than one percent of Americans who start with SSDI disability payments ever stop. Many are also eligible for Medicare as a disabled worker, once they are approved for benefits.  If you have a your family, they may also be eligible to apply for benefits. These are just some of the reasons that the program is facing financial challenges in the future. Take a serious look at this attached video on the various aspects of SSDI versus disability insurance. They are different and need to be approached differently.

No payments will be authorized for partial disability or short-term disability.  SSDI/SSI was designed for long-term disability lasting at least one year or that will lead to death. You cannot do the work that you did previously and cannot adjust to another profession or field.  These are firm requirements and are backed by federal law/regulations.  There is no negotiation.   As a dentist this is a hard fact to face.   Hopefully your condition will improve in a few years.  If not, seriously evaluate you condition.   Maybe you can return to work in some capacity.  There are many option available to a trained healthcare professional. Consider academics/teaching, consulting, or volunteer opportunities as options to continue your career.  We are not trying to talk you out of SSDI, BUT PLEASE UNDERSTAND ITS LIMITATIONS.   Continue to be relevant.   You have value and can still contribute. Look too our previous posting.WHAT DOES A SICK/ILL DENTIST DO NOW?

WE ARE DENTISTS HELPING OTHER SICK OR INJURED DENTISTS, WE CARE.

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