Whether it was a car accident that left you with severe back pain, or a work accident that left you with head trauma, if you are unable to work, you are likely feeling a financial crunch. Personal injury settlements and worker's compensation can only cover your expenses for so long before you find yourself wondering how you are going to pay the mortgage, your car payment and your electric bill.
Are there options?
Fortunately, there is an option when your finances start to dwindle. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can often bridge the fiscal gap that your injury created. Wondering whether you might be able to claim some of these benefits? Read on.
Over a year
If you are unable to work for more than a year, SSDI may be benefits available to you. Often, people think that you must have a lifelong disability before you are eligible for SSDI. But many people collect benefits while they are getting rehabilitation or fighting a disease that may take several years to treat. These people collect benefits, heal, and re-enter the work force. In fact, this is so common that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a plan in place for those folks. It is called the Ticket to Work Program.
And 40 credits
In addition to having a condition that keeps you from being able to work for more than a year, you must also have at least 40 "credits" in your SSA account. Credits are awarded based on your earnings and for each $1260.00 (2016 amount) you make, you receive a credit. You may receive a maximum of four credits per year. But the good news is that even people who work part-time can quickly accumulate credits.
Is it hard to qualify?
The application process for SSDI can be a long one--there is a very lengthy questionnaire that must be completed. The SSA may also require questionnaires from loved ones, or other people close to you, in order to verify how your illness/injury is affecting your day-to-day living. Records will be gathered from all doctors that have treated you, including any mental health providers.
It sounds like a lot of work, but the basis for approving disability benefits is federal law, and these laws must be followed exactly. Don't let the application process frighten you. Lawyers know how the law works, and as such, they can be your biggest advocate and staunchest ally. They are able to work with you and the SSA to reach the best possible conclusion for you case.
If you have been injured at work or you were injured in an accident, and you expect to be out for more than a year, consult an attorney. You may find that SSDI benefits are just the kind of help you are looking for.