Everyday in my social security disability disability practice I see the tragedy of the US health insurance system for disabled workers. It is hard to win social security disability benefits without being under the regular care of a doctor. For most of us, medical insurance is tied to our job. Lose your job, lose your medical benefits.
Most of are familar with co-called COBRA benefits. If your employer is covered under COBRA (read, a major sized employer) you have to be given the option of continuing medical benefits for up to 18 months under the plan as long as you pay the premium. COBRA allows the employer to pass certain medical plan administrative costs on to the COBRA enrollee, so people who have just lost their job are often shocked when they get the letter offering COBRA at how high the monthly premium is, and elect to go without medical insurance.
That is a particularly tragic decision for the disabled worker, since medical care is key to wining the case. Often times, by the time I get called the disabled worker has already waived the COBRA benefits.
President Obama has made it a little easier for laid off workers to take COBRA by subsidizing the insurance. Now, workers laid off between September 1, 2008 and February 28, 2010 will only have to pay 35% of what the COBRA medical insurance premium would have been. So if you have filed for social security disability, and have been laid off, you owe it to yourself to take the COBRA coverage if you have no other medical insurance available.