If you have become disabled due to illness or injury, you are not alone. Millions of adults and children in the U.S. have a disability.
In some cases, the disability was preventable—for instance, in a work accident or other accident claim . Whatever the cause, it is always in your best interests to locate every possible source of disability-based income and to file disability claims wherever possible.
If you have questions about your rights after being injured in an accident, a personal injury lawyer can help. Find a personal injury lawyer in your area to get answers to your questions and learn more about your ability to take legal action to seek compensation.
Disability Benefits for Those Injured at Work
If you were injured on the job, you may well be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. These benefits usually cover medical care and provide temporary and permanent income, vocational rehabilitation services, and death benefits.
Workers' compensation disability claims are handled in state programs, and each state has its own application process. You'll need to file your disability claim with the local office of your state's workers' compensation agency.
Your health insurance through an employer can be continued after you stop working for the employer, with a program called COBRA. Your employer's human resources (HR) department will tell you about COBRA benefits
Some states also provide State Disability Income (SDI). Check with your state's agency, or with a disability attorney.
Some employers provide their own disability benefits. Ask your employer's HR department about this. Even if your employer does not provide its own disability benefits, the HR department should be able to tell you where you can file disability claims.
You should also think about whether you may have signed up for disability insurance if and when you obtained life insurance. Sometimes people forget that they have a private source of disability insurance.
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)
Whether you became disabled due to an injury or illness that you incurred while on the job or you became disabled in non-work circumstances, you can file a disability claim for SSDI (Social Security Disability Income).
This is a federal program that provides income to disabled individuals of all ages. The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays SSDI benefits to individuals who are not able to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or to result in death.
In some cases, the family members of disabled workers can also receive money from the SSA.
The standards for qualifying for SSDI are very strict, and the SSA usually turns down disability claims on the applicant’s first try. However, there is a well-defined appeals process, and it is definitely possible to get a favorable decision on your disability claim, eventually.
Job Training Programs
The SSA and probably your state, too, have programs designed to help disabled people get back to work, perhaps in a different capacity.
You may be able to significantly increase your income by taking on new work, if you're able.
When you're in the beginning stages of the disability claims process, going back to work may not be one of your top priorities, but it's good to keep this possibility in mind.
Medicare, Medicaid, State Help
The federal government also provides Medicare to people who have been receiving SSDI for at least two years, and you may also be eligible for Medicaid, another federal program that helps with medical care.
Find a Personal Injury Lawyer in Your Area
The variety of disability programs and the complexity of the processes they require are good reasons to consult a professional for help. Many personal injury lawyers have years of experience working with "the system," and can provide you with the guidance you need. Find a disability lawyer near you today to arrange a no-cost consultation.
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