In the few seconds it took for your accident to happen, your life changed for the foreseeable future. If your doctors tell you your paralysis is permanent, you may not be able to reenter the workforce anytime soon.
This brings up the issue of how you will support yourself and your family. Even if your injury occurred at on the job, workers’ compensation benefits don’t last forever. You need another source of income.
You could apply for Social Security disability insurance benefits
It is wise to apply for SSDI benefits as soon as possible after you learn you are disabled. The process can take a long time, and you want to obtain benefits as quickly as you can, and a substantial number of applications are initially denied. This means the odds are high that you will need to go through the appeals process, which only adds more time during which you will not receive benefits. So, the sooner you apply, the more time you have to handle any issues.
You will need to meet certain requirements in order to apply for these benefits, such as the following:
- You are unable to return to your former job.
- You cannot find other work due to your spinal cord injury.
- Your disability must last at least 12 months.
- You must have a “medically determinable” disability that keeps you from working.
- A reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act will not be enough to allow you to find gainful employment.
- You must have worked at least five of the 10 years immediately preceding your injury.
- You must have paid FICA taxes.
You may meet these requirements, but proving it to the Social Security Administration is not an easy task. You will need substantial evidence from your doctors and other medical providers, along with other evidence.
You could seek out some support
Just as you wouldn’t handle your own medical care, you may also want to avoid handling your application alone. As mentioned above, the odds are that your claim will initially be denied, and you will need to go through the appeals process. You may not want to do this alone. Even one forgotten document or other piece of evidence could keep you from receiving much-needed benefits.
You would be wise to consult with an attorney experienced in helping individuals here in the Mobile, Alabama, area with their pursuit of SSDI benefits. This is a complex area of law, and you do not have to attempt to navigate it alone.