Every year, thousands of workers suffer devastating injuries or develop a condition that prevents them from returning to the workplace. This is the case for many hard-working Arkansans suffering from whiplash. Depending on the extent of this kind of injury, a worker may face weeks, months, or years worth of pain and discomfort. Under these circumstances, it is only natural to wonder whether there are any benefits available to you. Fortunately, you may be able to apply to get the benefits provided by the Social Security Agency. Our Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, invites you to keep reading as we discuss whether you can get disability for whiplash in Arkansas.
Can I Qualify for Disability Benefits for a Whiplash Injury in Arkansas?
Whiplash is a painful, discomforting injury primarily affecting the muscles around the neck. Additionally, this type of injury can show symptoms in other parts of the upper body, such as shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. Most of the time, whiplash injuries occur as a result of a rapid back and forth movement of the head. These injuries are common in events such as car crashes, although it can happen in different scenarios.
Whiplash injuries can range from mild to severe, depending on the extent of the injury and the circumstances that led to it. Chronic whiplash cases can cause excruciating pain and discomfort, which can prevent an individual from performing their jobs. If you can relate to this scenario, you may be able to apply to get the benefits provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The SSA assists disabled workers by providing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI and SSI are different, and each has its separate qualification requirements. To expand on the benefits you may get, we will refer to SSDI instead of SSI at this time.
SSDI benefits in Arkansas are available to disabled workers who meet specific criteria established by the SSA. The first thing to understand is not every injury or condition automatically qualifies for the SSDI benefits. There may be circumstances were the SSA can deny your SSDI claim. To be eligible for SSDI benefits based on a whiplash injury in Arkansas, you will need to show several elements.
For instance, you will need to show your condition meets or is equivalent to one of the conditions listed on the SSA’s Blue Book. The SSA’s Blue Book is an official listing containing the conditions that can qualify for SSDI. Whiplash injuries could qualify under the category for neck injuries listed in the musculoskeletal section, potentially meaning that whiplash would qualify for disability if it is serious enough.
According to the SSA, an injury is deemed severe and qualifies for disability if it is expected to last for at least a year or is expected to cause death. If you have the medical evidence to support a claim that your whiplash injury is going to last for more than a year and make it difficult to work, it may qualify you for disability benefits.
What is the Process for Getting SSDI Based on Whiplash in Arkansas?
The SSA follows an evaluation process to determine whether you can get SSDI benefits for your whiplash injury. First, the SSA will evaluate your particular situation to decide whether you engage in substantial gainful activity or SGA. SGA refers to any income you get from performing a job. If you make more than $1,260 per month, the SSA will likely determine you are not disabled and will likely deny your claim. However, if you don’t engage in SGTA, the SSA will go to the next step.
During the second step, the SSA will look at your injury and determine whether it is severe enough. The SSA can ask for your medical records or perform a medical assessment or Consultative Examination (CE), to see how your injury impacts your ability to perform your job. If your ability is deemed to be severe enough, you can go to the next step in your evaluation process.
During the third step, the SSA will evaluate whether your condition or impairment meets or is equal to any of the conditions listed on their blue book. Your condition doesn’t have to be necessarily expressed as “whiplash” to be considered a chronic condition requiring SSDI assistance. If you meet this requirement, you can go to the next step.
At this point, the SSA will look at your ability to perform your past job. The adjudicator in your claim will pay close attention to what is known as Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). RFC refers to your ability to perform your former occupation after your injury. This includes an evaluation of your physical and mental ability. If you are able to return to your previous job, the SSA may deny your claim, and you may be sent back to work.
If you are not able to perform your past job, the SSA will consider whether you can perform any other job you had for the past fifteen years. If you still are unable to perform any other job for the last fifteen years in which you worked full time, they may grant you your benefits.
As you can see, qualifying to get your SSDI benefits in Arkansas can be an uphill battle. Most of the time, SSDI claim procedures are filled with complexities and nuances. There may be also instances where your disability claim was delayed in Arkansas by the SSA. It is always in your best interest to retain the services of a skilled Arkansas disability lawyer who understands how the system works especially if your disability benefits were suspended.
Fayetteville, AR Disability Lawyer Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one suffers from a whiplash injury in Arkansas, we can help. Backed by many years of hands-on experience, Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, has developed the necessary tools to guide you through the SSDI claim process. We understand the challenges and difficulties that accompany an SSDI claim. That is why we dedicate our efforts and resources to fighting tirelessly for your right to compensation. To learn more about our services and how we can assist you with your case, call our disability attorneys today. Our phone number is (479) 316-0438.