Ensuring the Safety and Protection of Your Family in Ohio Following a Disability

No one wants to think about a life in which they can no longer work or provide for their family. Yet, some people are forced into this situation after suffering a short or long-term disability. Following a disability, it’s important to review your financial situation, seek the benefits available to you, and consider the safety and protection of your family.

Funding Available for Disability

Qualifying for short or long-term disability may mean you can no longer work. Some employers have benefits that include short and long-term disability programs. Depending on your family’s income, government programs, like Social Security Income (SSI), may also be available to you. Medicaid may also be an option for some families.

Non-alternative funding can also help you cover your expenses in the meantime. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can provide temporary financial assistance. Some life insurance policies have disabled riders, which can offer another source of income.

Disability Through Your Employer

If your employer offered disability insurance, and you paid into it, you may have a right to the benefits. These programs may limit the disability types and how long you can collect. The best way to learn more about what’s available is to ask your human resource coordinator for contact information on the program.

It’s important to note that disability plans aren’t set up to cover injuries suffered at work while performing expected work tasks. Instead, you’d turn to a workers’ compensation claim to cover work-related injuries.

Additional Disability Programs

Some employers offer additional disability problems, which may be beneficial if you can no longer work. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was implemented in 1974 to protect workers with a private health or pension plan. ERISA helps employees access their short and long-term disability benefits. Not all employer-sponsored disability plans are covered by ERISA, but it may be worth finding out if yours is. ERISA is specifically for employees who may become disabled before retirement age. If approved, you could receive a percentage of your salary for the period you’re unable to work.

Those who work or have worked for government agencies or religious organizations are not typically covered under ERISA. Ohio state employees may qualify for disability benefits under the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS.) The OPERS program requires at least five years of credits in a Traditional Pension or Combined Plan.

If you’re unsure of your eligibility for either program, it’s typically easy to find out if ERISA or OPERS backs your work-sponsored disability insurance coverage or not. One thing to keep in mind with either program is that they tend to have strict timelines. Failing to meet these timelines can deem you ineligible for the benefits you deserve.

Government Grants for Disability

Both the federal government and Ohio have government grants available for disabled families. Ohio offers Special Needs Grants to residents who don’t otherwise qualify for SSI, Medicaid, or an HCBS Waiver. The Ohio Disability Financial Assistance Program also helps low-income families with disabilities through monthly payments. The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is also a great resource for Ohio residents who want to learn more about available benefits.

Disabled and Unsure Where To Turn?

Navigating a disability when you’re still of working age can be incredibly difficult and confusing to manage. It can be even more overwhelming when you have paid into a disability program, and yet no one is there for you now that you’re dealing with one.

Sometimes, the best and only way to ensure the financial security of your family following a disability is to work with an ERISA disability lawyer. These programs are designed to be confusing so people don’t take advantage of them. However, this also prevents people who deserve the available benefits from accessing the funds they need.

Protecting Your Family During This Time

A lawyer can also help you get your other legal contracts in order. Make sure your family can handle your medical and financial bills now and in the future. This may be a good time to review your family’s living will. You may also want to assign a power of attorney to yourself and consider who might be responsible for your children. No one wants to bother with these tasks, but it’s the best way to protect your family, assets, and financial future.

Adjusting to life after a disability can be difficult. Whether the disability is short or long-term, you may need assistance with your finances. You may need help covering your medical bills or managing childcare duties in the meantime. Funding and benefits may be available if you know where to look. If you don’t, contacting a program or lawyer may be helpful.

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