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Disability benefits may improve under new health care laws

Research advances have extended the treatment efficacies for many disabilities, including many conditions for which there is no known cure. However, there may still be long-term issues that arise as a result of taking prescription medications for incurable conditions. When that happens, an individual may no longer be able to continue working.

Yet without employer-provided insurance, an individual by be unable to afford prescription medications for his or her condition. Impairments that rise to the level of a disability might qualify for Social Security disability insurance benefits. Yet even with appeals, just over 40 percent of applicants obtain SSDI benefits. The remainder may find themselves uninsured and untreated.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, new health care laws may close this coverage gap affecting disabled workers with terminal conditions like HIV. According to one report, states that have opted to expand Medicaid under the ACA will now provide coverage to around 60 percent of uninsured HIV patients. In addition, the Medicaid coverage will not be limited to HIV treatments, but can be used to treat all health needs.

Not every state has opted to expand its Medicaid coverage. Fortunately, New Jersey is among the 25 states and the District of Columbia that have made that choice. In addition, the coverage may also be compatible with receiving SSDI benefits.

The interaction between insurance policies and federal and state disability laws can be confusing. Fortunately, an attorney that specializes in disability benefits will likely have experience in interpreting such provisions. An attorney might help a disabled worker to receive financial assistance from multiple sources.

Source:, “How the ACA will affect people with HIV and AIDS,” Christine Vestal, Oct. 29, 2013

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