Can Independent Contractors Receive Short Term Disability in Arkansas?

Since many independent contractors do not qualify for workers compensation under Arkansas’ rules, they may need to turn to disability programs if they suffer an injury that keeps them from working. Personal injury, Workers’ Compensation, and Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak may be able to help you seek disability payments if you were severely injured and cannot return to work. Contact our law offices today for help understanding your eligibility for disability, and whether your condition qualifies.

Disability for Short Term Injuries

If you are unable to work because of a serious injury, you may not be able to support your family, take care of your medical expenses, or maintain a living wage. This can be especially difficult if you are an independent contractor, since your paycheck wholly depends on your ability to get out there and work. Unfortunately, Arkansas’ Workers’ Compensation program only covers employees, and not employers or those who are self-employed. This means that your only options to recover compensation while you can’t work may be a lawsuit or a disability application.

Filing for a lawsuit (or filing with insurance) is an excellent option if you were injured in a way that is someone else’s fault. For instance, car accidents or workplace injuries caused by negligent acts on the part of the person who hired you may be compensable. However, if you were injured in the course of your work or your injuries were your own fault, you may not have options to file a lawsuit.

This leaves disability as one of the primary options to seek compensation. If you suffer from an injury or a condition severe enough to keep you from working, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability (SSD) payments. First, to qualify for disability, you must have a severe condition. One of the primary elements of the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s definition of “severe” is that the condition will last for a long time. Specifically, the SSA requires that a condition will last for more than a year or is expected to end in your death. This means includes ongoing conditions like heart failure, cancer, amputation, and other extended injuries. It may not, however, cover temporary or short-term injuries. Talk to an attorney to understand your options for compensating a short-term injury.

Social Security Disability for Contractors

Social Security Disability Requirements

To claim SSD, you need to prove to the SSA that you meet their standards for a “disability.” First, the SSA maintains a list of approved disabilities. If your condition is on their list, and is severe, then you may qualify. If your condition is not listed, you may still qualify if your condition is as severe as another condition on the list.

Second, the SSA requires that your condition be “severe,” under their definition. This definition looks at both the intensity of the condition, and the expected length of the condition. The condition must be severe enough to prevent you from performing any “substantial gainful activity.” If you are injured, but are still able to work for a living wage, you may not qualify. The SSA requires that your condition be so severe that you can’t work support yourself. Additionally, as mentioned, they look for conditions that are expected to last for a while, and most qualifying conditions are permanent or are expected to eventually lead to the applicant’s death.

Lastly, you must show that you are not physically able to perform work tasks. This looks at your ability to perform your current/most recent job, but also any past jobs or other jobs you may be able to perform. Proving your limitations may require completing questionnaires regarding your abilities or require medical exams. Your doctor may be able to submit reports of your range of motion, physical limits, mental abilities, etc. However, the SSA may want their own doctors to examine you, too.

Disability for Independent Contractors

Disability Attorney in Fayetteville

Showing the SSA you meet their requirements is a matter of demonstrating the correct evidence and giving the SSA details about your condition. Talk to an attorney before applying. Because this process is very detail-oriented, an experienced disability attorney may be able to help you file your application fully and completely to improve your chances of qualifying. Alternatively, if you do not qualify for disability, Ken Kieklak may be able to help you file a personal injury claim or Workers’ Compensation claim to cover injuries, under certain circumstances.

For a free consultation on your disability or injury case, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law today. Fayetteville disability lawyer Ken Kieklak can examine your case and help you apply for disability, fight disability denials, and represent you at appeals hearings for disability. For your free consultation, call (479) 316-0438.