Car accident victims often suffer significant and permanently disabling injuries. Getting the liable party to compensate you for your losses is crucial. However, you may still be stuck dealing with the impact of your injuries for life. When this happens, you’ll likely want to explore alternative options for financial support.
Thankfully, if you cannot work after an auto accident, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. However, the claims process is often complex and, without help, it is not unusual for applicants to be denied. This is something to remember as you attempt to claim disability after a car accident in Georgia.
Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability benefits are available through a government program that most employees pay into throughout their lifetimes. Your Social Security taxes come out of your paycheck. They’re deposited into the SSD program. When you cannot work because of a disability, you can file for disability benefits.
SSD differs from short and long-term disability benefits available through your employer or purchased as a separate insurance policy. Not everyone will qualify for SSD. Unless you have paid into the program for a minimum number of months , which are based on you age at the time of injury, you may not be eligible for SSD, no matter how severe your injuries are.
- Ages 24 and younger: You need to have worked at least 5 full years (120 months) during your working lifetime.
- Ages 25 to 31: You need to have worked at least 6 full years (144 months) during your working lifetime.
- Ages 32 to 44: You need to have worked at least 9 full years (180 months) during your working lifetime.
- Ages 45 to 60: You need to have worked at least 10 full years (240 months) during your working lifetime.
- Ages 61 and older: You need to have worked at least 5 full years (120 months) during the last 10 years before you became disabled.
Who Qualifies for SSD Benefits?
To qualify for SSD, you must meet the specific eligibility requirements. These include:
- Having a qualifying medical condition
- Being incapable of working for an extended period
- Earning the minimum number of work months based on your age.
- Paying into the SSD program through your employment
Do not be surprised if your application for SSDI benefits after your car accident is denied. It is common for as many as 70% of SSD claims to be denied without legal representation.
By introducing additional evidence to support the severity of your injuries, your inability to earn a living, and meeting the qualification requirements, you may get the Social Security Administration (SSA) to overturn your denial and grant your application for SSDI benefits.
Car Accident Injuries Can Qualify for SSD Benefits
Certain car accident injuries can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Any injury or illness on the SSA’s list of qualifying conditions means you are eligible.
Any injury that will make it impossible for you to work permanently or for an extended time may qualify. Some common injuries that may be eligible for SSDI benefits include:
How Long Does the Disability Process Take?
The disability process can be lengthy. It can also take substantial time for a personal injury case to resolve. If you are applying for SSDI, you should be prepared to wait at least five months from when your application is approved to begin collecting payments. Sometimes, it may take even longer, depending on when your application is approved or whether your SSD application was denied.
What Do I Need to Apply for SSD Benefits?
To apply for Social Security Disability benefits, make sure you have the following documents and information readily available:
- 15 years of documented employment and work history
- All personal information, including your Social Security number and contact information
- Copies of your medical records, particularly those that pertain to your car accident injuries
- Statements from your healthcare providers
- Witness statements and reports from vocational rehabilitation experts
Will SSD Benefits Affect a Personal Injury Claim?
In most cases, your Social Security Disability benefits will not affect your personal injury claim. If you receive a personal injury settlement, you do not need to do anything to continue receiving your Social Security Disability benefits each month.
You can continue receiving your SSDI benefits until you can return to work, reach retirement age, or are no longer considered disabled by SSA representatives.
However, SSDI benefits can impact the compensation you receive in your personal injury settlement. If you received SSDI payments before your car accident, your settlement might not include compensation for reduced earning capacity or lost income.
This is because you should continue receiving your SSDI payments despite your injuries. Your personal injury attorney can analyze the specific details of your case to determine the impact, if any, collecting SSDI will have on your right to compensation through a personal injury suit.
A Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
When you are fighting for all the compensation you deserve, you need one of the best personal injury lawyers you can find. If you do not qualify for SSD due to your car accident injuries, that does not mean you are not without legal options. You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party or file a claim with their insurance provider due to Georgia’s fault-based insurance laws. In doing so, you can recoup your damages in full.
Call The Champion Firm Today
Social Security Disability benefits could be the right option for you if you cannot continue earning a living and have paid into the SSA’s disability insurance program. However, just because you qualify does not mean your application will be approved. Despite the severity of your car accident injuries, it is not uncommon for SSDI claims to be denied at first.
Plan ahead and make sure you have a powerful legal advocate on your side. Reach out to The Champion Firm for help today. Contact us online or call 404-596-8044 to schedule your 100% free consultation today. We’ll explain your legal options, including SSDI, and what’s next to maximize your compensation.