A significant car crash has turned your world upside down. Your injuries have left you unable to work and you are, justifiably, concerned about what the lack of income will mean for you and for your family.
You May—or May Not—Be Eligible for Social Security Disability
You may consider yourself disabled because you cannot do your job. However, Social Security disability is not an option for people with temporary disabilities. Thus, if you suffered a broken leg or a concussion, for example, and you will be able to go back to work when you heal, you will not qualify for Social Security disability.
However, if your disability is permanent or likely to result in death, you may qualify for Social Security disability. For example, if you have a spinal cord injury that prevents you from walking, using your arms, or even breathing on your own, or if you suffered an amputation because of your car accident injuries, you may be eligible for Social Security disability if you otherwise meet the eligibility criteria. Generally, Social Security disability eligibility depends on:
- How long you’ve worked and paid into the Social Security system. The exact length of time depends on your age.
- Your specific disability. You must be totally disabled and your condition must be expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. You may be considered disabled if you are unable to do the same job you did prior to the accident or are unable to do any other job.
- You are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity. In other words, you cannot make more than the maximum monthly amount established by the Social Security Administration.
If your spouse was also hurt in the same accident, you may both be out of work. If you are both disabled, you may both be able to recover Social Security disability benefits. Each person who was injured in the same car accident must apply separately for Social Security disability and eligibility determinations will be made independently.
You Deserve to Know the Truth About Your Eligibility
The attorney you hire to represent you in your car accident case may not be familiar with the intricacies of the Social Security disability program. Accordingly, we encourage you to read our FREE guide, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know, and to contact us directly with any questions. That way you can have the information you need to make an informed decision about your future.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.