We've spent the past few weeks here on our blog talking about an option available to support disabled workers with a lump sum payment: the Schedule Loss of Use award. However, there's another option outside of the workers' compensation system entirely that can also provide assistance in these situations.
We're talking about the benefits available through the Social Security Disability Insurance program. If a disabling injury keeps you from working for a period of one year or more, you may be eligible to collect under SSDI. Typically, the same injuries we discussed in the SLU award context -- partial or total loss of use in an arm, leg, hand, foot, eyes, ears, and other parts -- will qualify you for SSDI, as long as you were out of work for a year or more as a result of the injury.
Unlike workers' compensation or an SLU award, you will have to wait a year before you can apply for SSDI. But because SSDI is not a part of the workers' compensation system, you can still receive benefits under workers' compensation during that year (and beyond) without affecting your eligibility for SSDI. Your injury need not even have occurred on the job. The consideration is whether or not it prevented you from working, not whether or not you were working at the time it occurred.
Just because you have to wait a year to apply, however, doesn't mean you can't plan ahead. The legal professionals at Callanen, Foley and Hobika are experienced with Social Security Disability claims in central New York. We can begin preparing your evidence of disability and other relevant medical history in advance of your application in order to minimize the risk of a denial and the need for an appeal. We can anticipate the steps in the process so that you can take the time you need for rehabilitation after your injury.