Workers at the University of Arkansas are often at risk of injury in their jobs and other work, projects, and activities outside of their job. These workers may be able to file for workers’ compensation benefits if they were injured at work, but those benefits may be supplemented by filing for disability payments. Especially if the injuries occurred outside of work, disability benefits may be essential to supporting yourself and your family.
University of Arkansas disability lawyer Ken Kieklak represents injured employees of the University of Arkansas and other injury victims and helps them file for disability programs. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, may be able to help you submit your application and fight any denials to get you the disability benefits you need from SSDI or other programs. For a free legal consultation on your case, contact our law offices at (479) 316-0438.
Filing for Disability as a University of Arkansas Employee
If you are injured or develop a significant health problem, you could qualify as “disabled.” If this injury or condition keeps you from working, you may be entitled to file with the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits to give you and your family ongoing support while you deal with the injury or illness.
In contrast to workers’ compensation benefits, disability is available whether you were injured at work or not. Workers’ comp. typically only pays benefits for work-related injuries, but disability can apply to any qualifying injuries, physical disabilities, mental disabilities, or health conditions.
When you file for disability through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, you file your case with the SSA. Since the SSA is a federal agency, the filing process is essentially the same regardless of whom you work for, what job you perform, or how long you have worked there.
Types of Disability Benefits in Arkansas
Generally, when you file for disability through the SSA there are two disability programs you could file for: SSDI or SSI (Supplemental Security Income). SSDI is available for workers who have enough “work credits” from working at a job and paying FICA taxes (which include your “Social Security taxes”). If you meet these requirements, you can file for SSDI.
SSI is also available for workers who might not qualify for SSDI. This is a need-based program that gets you disability benefits if you cannot work but you do not otherwise qualify for SSDI. In many cases, you may actually apply for both benefits, potentially using SSI alongside SSDI or to fill gaps in coverage.
Disability Benefits Available for Injured U of A Workers
If you were injured while you were employed at the U of A, you may qualify for SSDI benefits. Typically, SSDI benefits pay you an ongoing wage that is calculated by looking at your average weekly wage before the injury. In many cases, these benefits will not be as much as your average wages were, but they can still help you and your family pay for housing, groceries, medical bills, and other expenses.
In many cases, you may also qualify for additional benefits for your family. Typically, spouses and dependent children can increase the benefits your family receives to an additional 50% to 80% of your benefits. These additional benefits can help pay for the additional expenses of raising a child or supporting a spouse in addition to the disability benefits you already receive for yourself.
Qualifying for SSDI Benefits in Arkansas
To qualify for disability, you must meet certain health standards in addition to the work qualifications for SSDI. First, you must have a “disability” according to the SSA’s definitions. The SSA has a list of qualifying conditions which include physical disabilities from injury, conditions affecting various body systems and organs, mental disabilities, autoimmune issues, cancer, and other injuries and illnesses. If your condition is on this list, you are a step closer to qualifying for benefits, but you might still be able to qualify with an unlisted condition.
Next, the SSA must see that your disability is “severe.” Having a qualifying condition alone is not enough to get coverage. If your condition is mild and does not interfere with your life, disability benefits might be unavailable. However, if the SSA sees that your condition is severe and prevents you from working and caring for yourself, they may accept your application.
The SSA will primarily look for evidence that you cannot work as proof that your disability is “severe.” This may include looking not only at your ability to perform your current job but also at your ability to perform former jobs you may have the training and experience for or your ability to go back to work with modified job tasks.
To ensure that you qualify under their standards, the SSA may ask you to fill out paperwork discussing your condition and your abilities. They will likely ask questions about how your disability affects day-to-day tasks and your ability to care for yourself. They may also ask your doctor or caregiver to fill out similar forms. It is important not to lie or exaggerate on these forms as that could be considered fraud.
Talk to an attorney for help filling out your forms, appealing your case in the event of a denial, and fighting to get you the disability benefits you need.
Call Our University of Arkansas Disability Lawyer for a Free Legal Consultation
If you have a severe health condition or physical disability, talk to our University of Arkansas disability attorney about seeking disability benefits through SSDI or other federal disability programs. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, may be able to help you file your case and work to get you and your family the disability benefits you need. For a free legal consultation, call us today at (479) 316-0438.