Modern medicine is a wonder. It can cure many ailments and repair many types of injuries that were unthinkable a generation ago. Sometimes recovery still doesn’t mean a return to full health. Some injuries and operations have long-term side effects. If it’s unlikely you’ll return to your job after an injury, it’s important to file for workers’ compensation first, to help you cover immediate expenses, but also to apply for Social Security Disability to meet your long-term needs.
Social Security Disability is a government insurance program. Workers contribute to the fund over their career. If an injury makes it impossible for you to work for one year or more, you’re eligible to file a claim for compensation. Any payments are based on your work and income history. Known as both SSD and SSDI, the benefits are open to anyone meeting the criteria.
SSD applications and delays
A life changing injury requires difficult adjustments. While you should always remain positive about your recovery and the necessary physical therapy, keep in mind that financial planning is a long-term necessity as well. As of September 2017, the average wait time just to get a hearing or appeal on an SSD claim was 16 months in Sacramento. In reviewing SSA’s list, the longest wait times in the country top two years and the shortest are still a full year delay.
SSD has a strict definition of disability. While your workers’ compensation claim covers injury at your current job, you must be unable to work in any reasonable occupation for long-term federal SSD claims. There are exceptions based on age, education and skills when SSD considers your overall ability to work.
Measuring the options available
When an injury alters your future, it’s necessary to take a hard look at your future and what resources are available to you. Workers’ compensation, personal savings, insurance policies and California State Disability Insurance may offer short-term assistance, but each option has its own complications. An experienced SSD attorney can help you to understand how Social Security Disability works, and also explain its interaction with other benefit programs like workers’ comp to make sure that you’re getting the full coverage. SSD is a benefit you’ve earned, but knowing how to apply and maximize the return requires diligence.