Recently on our disability forum a user wrote, I was in a car accident, and I will be out of work for at least six months. I talked to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and they told me that I do not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance SSDI benefits. I am confused. I have paid money into the Social Security Trust Fund for dozens of years and now that I am out of work and need money its not available. Can you give me some ideas about what I can do to support myself until I can return to work?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and long-term disability
Social Security Disability Insurance is administered by the SSA and is only available to workers who have earned sufficient work credits and who will be unable to work for at least 12 continuous months due to a severe mental or physical health condition.
Unfortunately, most workers have no idea about the limitations of the SSDI insurance program until they are injured and cannot work. Workers often mistakenly believe that no matter what type of injury they sustain, assuming they are not able to work, they will qualify for wage assistance payments.
Workers are also shocked to find out that even if they have a long-term health condition they may also be denied SSDI benefits if they cannot convince the SSA that it is severe and long-term.
So what do you do now? This is a tough question with no good answer but lets review a few of your options.
Temporary benefits for what are your options?
Review your employment coverage.
The first step if you have a broken leg and cannot work is to review your employment coverage. Many employers will provide some type of short-term employee coverage which can be purchased by the employee.
Review your workers compensation coverage.
Next, determine whether your injury occurred at work while you were performing your normal job duties. If, for example, you were moving a load of boxes and a heavy box fell and crushed your leg, you may be able to receive medical coverage, wage assistance and other benefits through your employers workers compensation program until you are able to return to work.
Determine if you have an emergency fund.
Theres a reason experts recommend saving at least six months of your salary in a savings account. If you are injured and you cannot work you will need money to pay for your daily living expenses. If you dont have an emergency fund start creating one now.
Consider all of your other alternatives.
Other alternatives for generating income while you cannot work include using your credit cards, taking out a personal loan, decreasing your spending, asking family and friends for a loan, and selling your assets. Obviously, none of these options are good but they may be your only options.
SSDI will not be available for a broken leg unless you are able to prove it is so severe that you cannot work for at least 12 continuous months.
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