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Disability benefits for a terminal illness

Anyone who receives a diagnosis of terminal illness, or has a loved one who has received such a diagnosis, usually is not very interested in the financial aspects of the illness and the expected death. Nevertheless, many Houston residents can obtain significant financial assistance from the Social Security Disability Insurance for illness program even while the illness progresses.

Many people receive disability payments during their working years, and these payments convert to retirement payments when the recipient reaches age 65. If the person receives a diagnosis of a terminal illness on top of the previous illness, the amount of benefits will not increase. However, anyone who is not receiving SSDI benefits and is stricken by a terminal illness may be able to receive disability benefits.

The first qualification is meeting the Social Security Administration's definition of disabled. Any medical condition that prevents an applicant engaging in substantial gainful activity and that will result in death or last for at least 12 months meets the SSA definition of disabled. "Substantial gainful activity" means the ability to earn at least $1,220 per month (the cap is $2,040 for blind individuals). Anyone who is able to earn at least that amount will not be considered disabled. The next hurdle is demonstrating that the disabling condition results from a medical condition. Proof of this condition depends upon showing that the diagnosis was made using standard medical procedures. A key element of disability benefits is the right to assign the benefits to a survivor such as a spouse or child.

Anyone who wants to apply for disability benefits in connection with a terminal illness may wish to consult a knowledgeable attorney for assistance in completing the application and assembling the necessary medical and employment records.

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