Rhode Island disability applicants have three different programs to choose from when it comes to monthly benefits. We’ll explain how each program works, steps to apply, qualify, pay amounts and more for you below.
How Temporary Rhode Island Disability Benefits Work
Eighty years ago, Rhode Island launched the very first state disability program. This means if you become ill or injured and cannot work for several months, you can receive temporary disability payments. You are eligible to apply for Rhode Island’s Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) benefit payments if:
- You have a medically certified off-the-job injury or illness that stops you from working at least seven days in a row.
- Your employer has TDI coverage.
- You earned at least $14,700 working for a Rhode Island employer the year before becoming disabled.
- Your illness or injury is not work-related.
A Qualified Healthcare Provider (QHP) must certify that you cannot perform your usual work duties for health reasons. The provider needs to estimate how long your condition stops you from working. The state may also require an appointment with an impartial medical examiner to confirm your qualifying disability. If you don’t make or keep this scheduled appointment, you might lose your benefits.
Thankfully, you won’t owe income taxes on temporary Rhode Island disability. Also, you can receive regular work wages, sick leave or vacation pay as well as these payments! You can also file a TDI claim for pregnancy or childbirth-related disabilities, but not maternity leave.
How to Apply for Rhode Island TDI Benefits
STEP ONE: Apply for temporary state disability benefits online by visiting the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training’s website. File your claim within 90 days of your first week unemployed due to illness or injury.
STEP TWO: Once you file your TDI application, you’ll receive a medical certification form in the mail. Give your healthcare provider this form to complete.
STEP THREE: Submit this form. It is 100% your responsibility to do so.
It will take between two and four weeks for your Rhode Island state disability claim to be approved. If you are approved, you can collect TDI for up to 30 weeks in any benefit year. Your payment amount depends on how much you earned while working over the five quarters prior to becoming disabled: $114 is the minimum weekly TDI benefit; $978 is the maximum weekly benefit. You may also receive a dependency allowance up to $10 per eligible child for no more than five children.
You cannot receive state disability as well as unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation at the same time. However, you can work part-time or take paid maternity leave and still get TDI benefits.
Long-Term Help Is Available to You in Rhode Island
If your injury or illness lasts more than 12 months, two other programs may pay you benefits. Did you know the Social Security Administration pays disability benefits to more than nine million disabled workers and their families each year? Here are some quick Social Security disability facts:
- SSDI is coverage you already earned. If you paid enough Social Security taxes through your lifetime earnings, the SSDI program replaces some of your income if you’re disabled and cannot work.
- The Social Security Act has a strict definition of disability. This benefit is only available if you can’t work due to a serious medical condition lasting at least one year or expected to result in death.
- Disability can happen to anyone at any age. One in four 20-year-olds will become disabled before retirement age. To qualify for SSDI, you must be at least 18 years old, but younger than 65. If you’re too young and haven’t earned 40 work credits, you might not qualify. Also, if you’re already at or past your full retirement age, SSDI converts into regular Social Security payments.
- The average monthly Social Security disability benefit is $1,358 in 2022, which allows disabled individuals meet their basic needs.
- Social Security works to prevent and prosecute fraud. The result is a fraud incidence rate that is a fraction of one percent.
- SSDI helps families. In addition to benefits for individuals, the program also makes payments to certain people with disabilities who are dependents of insured individuals.
How to Get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits in Rhode Island
Whether you apply online, by phone, or in person, the disability benefits application process works in this order:
- You gather the information and documents you need to apply. Print and review the Adult Disability Checklist and gather the information you need to complete the application.
- Submit your application.
- The SSA reviews your application to make sure you meet some basic requirements for disability benefits and checks whether you worked enough years to qualify.
- The SSA evaluates your current work activities (if any).
- It processes your application, forwards your case to the Disability Determination Services office in your state, and your state agency makes the disability determination decision.
Only one in five first-time SSDI claimants get approved for benefits the first time and just 35% of all applicants eventually get benefits. Therefore, it helps to get a lawyer to help you file. All Social Security lawyers work on contingency and don’t get paid unless your claim is approved.
If your condition improves enough for you to start working again in less than 12 months, they’ll deny your claim. It is important to have copies of your full medical records from your doctor to submit with your SSDI application.
It takes the SSA approximately 3-5 months to review every SSDI claim and has a required five-month waiting period before you can get any benefits. The maximum SSDI payment amount for 2022 is $3,345 per month. The SSA determines your benefit amount using your highest average wage earnings over a 35-year period.
Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits Are Your Third Option
This program provides for payments to individuals, including children under the age of 18, who have disabilities and limited income and resources. If you haven’t worked five in the last 10 years full-time or are 65 and older with few assets, you may be eligible. SSI payments max out at $841/month per person, or $1,261/month per couple.
SSI has the strictest eligibility requirements of the three programs. To qualify, you must not exceed income or asset limits. According to SSA.gov, “Income is money you receive, such as wages, Social Security benefits, and pensions. Income also includes things like food and shelter. The amount of income you can receive each month and still get SSI depends partly on where you live.”
Assets are things you own, including real estate, bank accounts, cash, stocks, or bonds.
You may be able to get SSI if your assets are worth $2,000 or less. A couple may be able to get SSI if they have assets worth $3,000 or less. If you own property that you wish to sell, you may be able to get SSI while trying to sell it. The SSA does not count economic impact payments, or CARES Act payments, as income for SSI.
If you’re an adult intending to file for both SSI and SSDI, you can apply online for both benefits at the same time if you:
- Are between the ages of 18 and 65.
- Have never been married.
- Are a U.S. citizen residing in one of the 50 states, District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands.
- Haven’t applied for or received SSI benefits in the past.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
A Rhode Island disability lawyer makes you almost 3x more likely to get paid benefits. All Rhode Island disability lawyers work on contingency, so you’ll pay nothing for legal assistance up front. A qualified Social Security attorney charges $0 if you don’t win benefits. And if you win, you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.