Does a Personal Injury Settlement Impact Social Security Disability in Arkansas?
If you are seeking Social Security Disability (SSD), then it is likely that you either suffer from a medical condition that prevents you from working, or you suffered a serious injury and are no longer able to work. If you have a condition, unrelated to an accident, claiming disability may be your best chance to seek income that can help support you. However, if you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may have a better chance claiming compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
For those considering seeking Social Security Disability alongside a personal injury settlement or judgement, Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak has put together this information you may need to know. For a free consultation on your Arkansas personal injury lawsuit or disability application in Arkansas, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today.
Are SSI and Settlement Money Compatible?
If you are applying to get Social Security benefits like Supplemental Security Income, one of the factors the Social Security Administration will consider is your need. The SSA only pays benefits to those who truly need the money. As part of this determination, the SSA looks at how much income you make in a usual month. In 2017, if you make more than $1,170 per month ($1,950 per month if you are blind), you may be denied Social Security benefits.
If you sue someone for injuring you, you may receive substantial compensation. If you receive this money in one lump sum, it may appear as though you had very high income in that year. If this money comes in installments, you may actually receive a relatively high amount of money each month as damages from the lawsuit. Whether this is a settlement for a personal injury lawsuit or the damages the jury awards you after a final judgement, it may be enough to care for your needs. Since one of the main areas of damages you may seek during a lawsuit is lost wages, it is likely that winning a lawsuit for serious injuries should be able to support you financially.
If you have income from a personal injury judgement or settlement, you may not need disability payments. In the eyes of the SSA, you may have too much income for disability to kick in. If your settlement or judgement amounts to over $1,170 per month in payments, you may not be able to claim SSD at all. While you may still meet the definition of “disabled,” under SSA rules, you do not meet the financial need requirement for disability benefits.
Even if you are receiving payments from another lawsuit, unrelated to your disability, the increased income from the lawsuit may put you over disability income limits.
Should I Sue for Injury or Seek Disability?
If you were injured in a serious accident, you may have a better chance of seeking compensation in a lawsuit, rather than applying for disability. Disability may be your only choice if you have a disorder or condition that arose naturally, such as heart failure, cancer, a genetic disorder, or a mental health problem. If you have an injury that you sustained in a serious accident, such as severe brain injury from a fall, or paralysis and spinal injuries after a car accident injury, you may be better off taking the party who injured you to court.
The Social Security Administration may recognize your disorder or condition, and may even consider you “disabled” by their definition, but disability may still not be the best choice. In order to meet the definition of “disabled,” you must be unable to perform work-related activities, which may be common after very serious injuries. However, Social Security Disability is intended to be a last-resort for those who have no other way to seek compensation for their injuries and cannot support themselves without help.
If you were injured in an accident, taking the person who injured you to court may provide you with enough compensation to support yourself. During a personal injury lawsuit, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In contrast, Social Security Disability benefits usually include a living wage, which may be lower than the wage you received before your injury. However, a personal injury lawsuit’s goal is to restore you to the financial situation you had before the injury, meaning compensative as close to your full wages as possible. Additionally, a personal injury lawsuit may cover your medical expenses and pain and suffering damages.
Talk to an attorney to understand what you might be entitled to on your case, and which options are best. An Arkansas personal injury attorney like Ken Kieklak, who handles personal injury lawsuits, disability applications, and Workers’ Compensation cases can help you figure out the best form of compensation for your situation.
Fayetteville Personal Injury and Disability Lawyer
For help understanding and filing your injury or disability case, talk to an attorney today. Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer Ken Kieklak, attorney at law, offers free consultations on both personal injury and Social Security Disability cases. Call (479) 316-0438 today.
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