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Does SSDI cover a work-related illness?

Previous posts here have discussed varying forms of conditions that might qualify a New Jersey resident for benefits from the Social Security Administration through the Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income programs. From seriously broken bones to mental illnesses, people with conditions that affect their ability to engage in substantial gainful activity may need these benefits to make ends meet. One subgroup of conditions is occupational disease.

Occupational diseases are those illnesses that are contracted through exposure to certain substances or conditions at a job site during an individual's work life. They may be caused by certain chemicals or other agents that a worker ingests, such as through the vascular system or the skin, or by the requirements of the work that place a certain amount of stress on one or another of a person's organs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most occupational diseases are preventable, but for many years employers and regulators either were unaware of the diseases and causes, and thus could or would not take steps to alleviate the conditions.

Some more well-known work-related illnesses are things like Black-Lung Disease or Asbestosis. These serious conditions affect workers by slowly but surely making them sick enough that they can no longer do their jobs. When this happens, workers and their families may lose their main method of providing for the necessities of life. SSDI is one program that may benefit such individuals by providing an income that can help with meeting that individual's needs.

Of course, as with all applications for disability benefits, applicants will need to provide evidence that they meet the legal definition of disability due to the condition.

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