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Disability Insurance Observer: Pocket seeking

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I’m basing this blog entry on a true story, but distorting the details to protect the identity of a nice guy who did not have one of you wise readers helping him design his personal protection program.

This guy, John Doe, is 56 years old and owned a wonderful little, um, grocery store located near the office in Hoboken, N.J. He has been running the store for, let’s say, five years.

The store never made much money, and it made less and less as the years went on. Doe lost about $10,000 on the business in 2012. He didn’t pay himself a salary. He hasn’t taken any withholding out of his salary because he had no actual salary. Maybe there’s some way he could retroactively pay himself some kind of salary for 2012.

When Doe came close to the bitter end this fall, he told the four employees he let go how to file for unemployment insurance, then was surprised to find that encouraging the employees to file for benefits led to him getting a big unemployment insurance program assessment.

Doe also has a bad back. He’s been working 60 hours per week at his grocery store for five years, but he hobbles around in a painful looking fashion, and his doctor would like him to stop working. 

Now he’s closing up shop and is broke. He is trying to figure out whether he can qualify for unemployment insurance, unemployment disability insurance, state disability insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or some other magical source of cash.

He is, really, looking for any pocket he can reach into to get some help with paying the bills.

I found out about his problems, because he was asking me about how to go about applying for SSDI as if that were like popping into the corner deli to pick up a quart of milk. 

I think there are a lot of John Doe business owners out there, pouring into government benefits offices and social services organization offices near you.

Maybe the government benefits offices and social services organizations should be doing more to help people like you educate the John Does about the need to protect their income against the risk of disability — and to structure their businesses in such a way that, if there’s any way for them to have access to unemployment insurance, they have it.

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