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Does Union Membership Affect My Eligibility for Social Security Disability?

union membership and ssd benefits

There are many benefits associated with joining a union. Indeed,  statistics show that union workers are paid a salary that is approximately 30 percent higher than non-union workers, are more likely to have job-related healthcare coverage, and are more likely to have guaranteed pensions. Of course, one of the biggest benefits of being a union worker is the collective power to go on strike or otherwise lobby for their rights and benefits.

But being part of a union can also raise several questions about other labor rights and certain government benefit types. At the Dansby Law Firm, P.C., one question that we are frequently asked by our clients is: “Does union membership affect my eligibility for Social Security disability benefits?”

The following provides an overview of what you need to know about Social Security disability benefits if you’re a member of a union, and whether or not your membership will have any effect on your right to secure benefits

If You’ve Paid into the System, You’re Entitled to SSDI Benefits

If you are a worker who has paid into Social Security and has earned work credits during your working years, you have a legal right to claim your benefits, regardless of your status as a member of a workers’ union. What’s more, not only are you not prevented from recovering SSDI benefits due to your union membership, it is likely that your union will also offer support and guidance in claiming the benefits you are owed.

What About My Pension?

If you are receiving a pension, it is important to understand what effect your pension may have on your SSDI benefits, and vice versa.

If you are receiving SSI benefits (which are disability benefits that are based on an applicant’s limited income and resources), it is more likely that receiving a pension will have an adverse effect on your ability to recover SSI benefits. This is because pension benefits will be counted as income, which can disqualify you for income-based disability benefits.

However, because SSDI benefits are neither income nor needs-based, receiving a pension should have little or no effect on your ability to receive 100 percent of your SSDI benefit amount.

While less common, it is possible that your pension income could offset your SSDI benefit amount (not disqualify you from receiving benefits, but rather reduce your monthly SSDI payments). This is the case when your pension is based on earnings that were not subject to Social Security taxes. The majority of private and government pensions will not fall into this category, and therefore will not have an effect on your SSDI amount.

Learn More About Your Right to Social Security Disability Benefits

Understanding the different Social Security disability benefits and how to qualify for benefits can be confusing; the process is even more complicated when you factor in things like union membership and pension benefits.

To help you understand what benefits you are entitled to through the SSA, how to apply for benefits, and how to improve your chances of your disability claim being approved, we strongly recommend working with a qualified attorney.

At the offices of The Dansby Law Firm, P.C., our experienced Social Security disability attorneys have been servicing clients in Alabama for nearly three decades. We are well-versed in Social Security disability law, and know what the SSA is looking for in a SSDI/SSI application.

To start the process of recovering the benefits you need and deserve, call our law offices today. You can reach us at 334-834-7001. You can also get in touch by visiting our Montgomery office in person, or by sending us a brief message describing your legal need using the contact form on our website.

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