The United States is based on a working, employed economy. Although there are a few safety nets and exceptions, if you're unable to work because of an injury, disease, other physical conditions, or mental conditions, the smartest thing to do is look for a backup plan. There's no reason to focus every single day on just employment plans when there are options such as social security, personal injury claims, and other more personal financial security programs. Here's a few things to consider before too much time passes.

Social Security Opportunities

One of the most well-known options for people with disabilities—or trying to have their conditions recognized as disabilities—is Social Security. The program also provides a retirement stipend, but for disabled people, the Social Security Disability program is a supplemental income system to help when money can't be made any other legal way. 

The main drawback of Social security disability is not the income limits, but the complexity around those limits. One misconception is that the income limit is as low as $1,100 (this amount is subject to change based on yearly rates and is an estimate). That number is completely wrong when it comes to figuring out your benefits and specific situations.

For example, situations such as having a higher-paid spouse, certain investments, or tax-exempt benefits such as Veterans Affairs disability can change what that limit means. The limit refers to a very specific way of making money, and you need to talk to a lawyer, such as those found at Horn & Kelley, PC Attorneys at Law, instead of making the decision on your own to understand if it matters. There are simply too many exceptions that could benefit you.

Veterans Affairs Benefits

There are many government, corporate, and community programs that can work in Social Security's place. The benefit of Social Security is that it's for all Americans, but if you are part of a specific group that can help, use that system.

One major benefit of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the lack of most of Social Security's limitations. You still need to prove that you're disabled and you need to link that disability to military service, but the monetary compensation and medical benefits are immense.

There is no income limit when it comes to VA benefits. You can make as much money as you want, as long as you aren't doing something that disproves your disability. There are certain parts of VA disability—such as temporary VA disability involving post-surgery and hospital care issues—that will be cancelled or must be repaid if you continue to work while on those programs, but the general benefits package does not consider income.

If you're not sure what you qualify for or need help making sure that your paperwork goes through with one or more program, contact a social security disability lawyer as soon as possible. Consulting early is better than desperately searching with no other options.