Not everyone in Fayetteville works a traditional nine-to-five job for an employer. Many people these days work as independent contractors, consultants, or otherwise work “gigs” rather than traditional jobs. What these “contingent workers” may not know, however, is that just like those who work for employers, they, too, are entitled to Social Security disability benefits if qualified.

According to a study from Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, contingent workers in their 50s and 60s are not as apt to pursue and obtain SSD benefits compared to those with a traditional employee-employer work arrangement. In the age group studied, only 8% of workers applied for SSD benefits, but contingent workers in that age group were just over two percentage points less likely to pursue these benefits.

Moreover, contingent workers were approximately 33% less likely to be awarded SSD benefits than workers who always held a traditional job. Contingent workers who did qualify for SSD benefits were paid around $150 less monthly compared to those studied who held traditional jobs. However, this may be because these contingent workers earned around $537 less per month than those who hold traditional jobs.

It is important that contingent workers understand that they, too, pay taxes to fund the Social Security system, so they can also apply for benefits if they have a health issue that constitutes a disability and will put them out of work for a year or more or will be fatal. It can be confusing to navigate the SSD benefit application process, and oftentimes an initial application is denied, thereby necessitating an appeal. Fortunately, attorneys can assist those seeking SSD benefits with the application process and the appeals process, if necessary.