Every car accident is a unique product of road hazards, driver behavior, mechanical and electrical aspects of the vehicle’s operation and other environmental factors. In short, despite their commonality, accidents involving cars, trucks, and SUVs are exceedingly complex events that can produce an array of injuries and consequences.
Following a vehicular accident many people wonder if they will be able to collect government benefits life Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Every situation is different and the same goes for whether you can qualify for SSDI after a serious accident. However the chief inquiry is whether the applicant can satisfy both the non-medical program requirements and the program’s medical requirements.
You Must be Able to Satisfy the Non-Medical Program Requirements
Before going any further it is important to note that you must be able to satisfy the Social Security Disability Program’s non-medical requirements. The first of these non-medical requirements is limits on substantial gainful income. To qualify for SSD benefits, a claimant cannot have exceeded income limits. The second major non-medical program requirement that typically applies top SSDI claims is the individual’s insured status. That is, SSDI is an insurance program for workers. To qualify for coverage a claimant must satisfy minimum duration of work requirements. Generally speaking, the number of required work credits increases with the age of the claimant. If you can meet these non-medical program requirements, your impairment or condition will then be analyzed through steps 2 through 5 of the Social Security Administration’s 5 step sequential review process.
I Have Several Broken Bones, But They Should Heal Fully Within 6 to 8 Months, Can I Qualify?
No. Even if you can meet the non-medical program requirements, your claim is likely to fail because it does not meet the medical requirements at step 2 of the evaluation process. Step 2 of the 5 step process is concerned with whether the SSA would consider your injuries, impairment, or condition to be “severe.” Only severe conditions are compensable. A severe impairment is a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or a combination of impairments that must interfere with work or other basic daily activities. Additionally the condition must have existed or expect to exist for at least 1 year.
Here, the claim would fail because the condition is not expected to last for 12 months or longer. However, if the injury was to persist for one year or beyond, a compensable claim might be found provided that you could not perform past work and there was not alternate work available.
My Accident Left Me with Multiple Severe Injuries, But None are Individually Listed by the SSA. Can I Qualify?
If you suffered multiple severe injuries but no individual injury is severe or listed by the SSA you may, at first impression, believe that you do not have a compensable claim. However it is important to understand how the SSA assesses a disability application. First, the SSA does not require the presence of a listed condition; rather sufficient medically documented proof of a listed medical condition or impairment allows a claimant to win at Step 3 of the 5 step process. Even if an applicant does not have a single injury that is listed by the SSA, they can still prove that their condition or conditions is medically or functionally equal to a listed impairment.
This brings us to the second important thing to know about how the SSA evaluates a claim. The SSA does not look at each condition you claim to be affected by in isolation. Rather the SSA assesses your ability to carry out daily tasks and activities based on the combined and cumulative effects of all of your disabilities together. Consider that perhaps you have a minor to moderate ankle and knee impairment. But you also have COPD, although readings from a medical test falls outside of established bounds that would allow you to qualify for the listing. The claims examiner must determine whether the combined effects of your breathing and joint impairments meet or equal a listing when considered together.
I Suffered a TBI, But There Are no Physical Signs of Injury. Can I Receive Benefits?
As for all claims for disability benefits under SSDI, the chief factors to determine whether the claim will be successful is whether the medical and non-medical requirements can be satisfied. It is important to note that not every injury or impairment has outward physical signs. Many serious conditions that can significantly limit one’s ability to work and perform daily activities can have few or no outward signs. In the case of a TBI, the presence of the condition can be shown under multiple listings provided that there is objective medical evidence and reports of the limitations imposed by the condition.
Rely on an Arkansas Social Security Disability Lawyer Ken Kieklak
Ken Kieklak has fought for the rights of injured hard working Arkansans for more than 20 years. If you have been injured and can no longer work, he can handle every step of the Social Security Disability application process. For a free confidential SSD consultation, call (479) 316-0438 or contact us online today.