Suffering an unexpected injury could greatly impact the lives of individuals in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the nation. Not only are the medical bills and treatment plans overwhelming but the emotional impacts the injury can have on the victim’s life are also debilitating. Depending on the severity of the injury, an accident victim may find it difficult to maintain any gainful employment. Because of that, the injured party might need to seek out resources to offset these financial troubles caused by the injury.
The Social Security Administration estimates that Americans have a 30 percent chance of becoming disabled before they reach retirement age. While this is an upsetting figure, there are resources available to those disabled permanently or temporarily due to an injury. Social Security provides the means for disabled workers, their spouses and their children to receive disability benefits.
Even if it is determined that an individual does not have a sufficient amount of work credits to qualify for disabled work credits, an individual could be entitled to these benefits as a disabled widower of a deceased worker or disabled child of a worker that is retired, disabled or deceased.
In order for an applicant to receive a disability payment, he or she must meet both work requirements and medical requirements. In order to receive disability benefits for an injury, the applicant must be unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a medically determined physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in their death. This means that the applicant must be totally or nearly permanently disabled to qualify for these benefits.
Lifetime work requirements vary with the age a person becomes disabled and when the work credits were earned. Those 31-years-old and older need between 20 and 40 credits, with 20 earned in the last 10 years. Workers younger than 31-years-old are able to apply with fewer work credits.
It is important to note that roughly two-thirds of applicants are denied. While having a denied claim can further frustrate the situation, this is not the end for applicants. An appeal could be filed, helping the disabled worker represent their case to gain approval. Those that are denied initially or are unsure of the process should always take the time to understand the steps involved. This will ensure they are well informed and are taking measures to protect their rights and interests.
Source: Herald-Tribune, “SAVINGS GAME Applying for Social Security disability benefits,” Elliot Raphaelson, accessed on May 23, 2016