Can I Get Disability Benefits After a Car Accident?

Can I Get Disability Benefits After a Car Accident?

SSDI benefits after an accident

Every year, as many as three million Americans are injured in car accidents. The majority of people eventually recover from their injuries and are able to return to their lives within several days, weeks, or months. But for some people, injuries sustained in car crashes become permanent and can lead to significant disability.

Permanent disabilities resulting from car accident injuries can have a profound impact on your ability to work, support your family, take care of yourself, and maintain a good quality of life. As such, the long-term consequences may be devastating, wreaking emotional and financial havoc on you and your family. 

If you’ve been permanently disabled after a car accident, you may qualify to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. In order to do so, however, you’ll need to go through the SSDI application process, which can be a long and sometimes frustrating ordeal. Find out everything you need to know about obtaining disability benefits after a car accident with this guide from Social Security Disability Advocates USA.

What Are the Requirements to Qualify for Disability?

Regardless of what caused your disability, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability in order to receive benefits. To qualify, you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • You have a medical condition that prevents you from participating in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
  • The condition has lasted or is expected to last for no less than 12 months, or will result in death, and
  • You have acquired sufficient work credits.

Substantial Gainful Activity is a monthly income threshold that indicates to the Social Security Administration that you are fit to work. In other words, if you are able to generate a certain amount of money each month in spite of your disability, the SSA can deny your disability claim. 

In addition, if your injury or disability will not last for a period of 12 months or more, you will not qualify for disability benefits. Even in the case that your disability does last that long, it must be considered to be sufficiently debilitating, to the point that you are unable to engage in SGA.

What Car Accident Injuries Are Considered Sufficiently Debilitating?

Determining whether or not the SSA will find your injuries to be sufficiently debilitating can be tricky. You will be required to submit ample documentation of your disability, including medical bills and records detailing your diagnoses, time spent in the hospital or in rehabilitation programs, the names of the doctors and facilities who treated you, plus a list of all your prescribed medications. 

In conjunction with your work history and education, plus information about your spouse and family, the SSA will make an informed decision about whether you qualify. To put things into perspective, here are some of the accident-related injuries that may be approved for disability benefits after a car accident:

  • Severe traumatic brain injuries that impair your cognitive and motor skills
  • Partial or total paralysis 
  • Other debilitating neck or spinal injuries
  • Severe burn injuries which result in chronic pain and severely limit movement
  • Amputation of a foot, hand, arm, legs, or a combination thereof that limits mobility
  • Serious or complex fractures that take more than 12 months to heal
  • Severe and persistent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from the accident

What Are Work Credit Requirements?

Once you meet the disability requirements, you must also meet the SSA’s work credit requirements. Claimants must have earned a certain amount of work credits through employment and paying their taxes to qualify for SSDI. Generally, the number of required work credits goes up with age. 

Because of this requirement, meeting the disability definition without having enough work credits will result in disqualification. However, you may still be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

While you usually cannot work and receive disability benefits at the same time, there are some exceptions. For example, if you are working part time on disability and your income is under the SGA amount, you may still be eligible for benefits. 

Even if you are earning SGA, however, the Social Security Administration may issue a trial work period during which you can still receive your SSDI benefits for up to nine months while earning unlimited income. If you are earning the SGA amount or above after the trial work period, however, your SSDI benefits will stop.

You May Be Eligible for Disability Benefits After a Car Accident

Bottom line: to qualify for SSDI benefits after an accident, you must meet both the medical and work credit requirements. You must meet the SSA’s definition of disability for more than 12 months, and you must have earned a certain amount of work credits while keeping your monthly income below SGA thresholds.

Get Help With Your Disability Claim or Appeal

If you are disabled after a car accident and are considering applying for disability (or if your claim has been denied), a social security disability lawyer may be able to help. Our team can even help you navigate pursuing a personal injury claim while applying for disability benefits.

Here at SSDA USA, our attorneys work tirelessly to address all your social security questions and concerns. Call us anytime at 602-952-3200, talk to one of our helpful agents via LiveChat, or send us a message about your case today.

For more information about SSDI plus the ultimate disability secrets the SSA doesn’t want you to know, follow us on Facebook.

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

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