It wasn’t your fault you got hurt at work, and it has caused some serious problems. Not only is it affecting your relationships with your family, but your financial resources are quickly dwindling. You can’t live on 60 percent of your former earnings–so what are you supposed to do? Is there any option that can bring more money in?
SSDI may be an option
If you have been told that your injury will keep you out of work for a year or more, you may be able to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI.) SSDI is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA.) Benefits are based on prior earnings, and there are certain criteria that you must meet to qualify.
The SSA will ask for all medical records (including any counseling records) that pertain to your injury. You will also be asked to fill out a questionnaire which details how your injury affects your family relationships, day-to-day activities, and your ability to work. You may also be required to be examined by a physician selected by the SSA.
It is hard to qualify?
That depends. There are many people who are rejected the first time they apply for SSDI. Making your case is essential. Although the questionnaire is lengthy and can be daunting to fill out, doing so in as much detail as possible will give the best picture of your case, making it easier for the SSA to be clear on how and why your injury keeps you from working.
There is no shame
Many people are embarrassed that they may have to rely on disability payments. Some see it as a weakness or a government “handout.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you have worked, you have paid into the SSA fund. Each paycheck, money is taken out under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA.) Those payments were made so that you could be ensured of having disability coverage. Since it is a program you have contributed to, it is by no means a “handout.”
The best way to know whether SSDI is an option is to consult with an attorney. Determinations regarding SSDI are based on the federal laws that created the program. Having an attorney who can help you understand legal jargon and how the rules are enforced, can be significantly helpful in the process.