Millions of Americans struggle with serious, disabling conditions following personal injuries. Often, people with such conditions cannot work enough to support themselves or even at all.
If you or a loved one is in this situation after a Tennessee accident or injury, you may want to examine your options regarding Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. These benefits can provide critical support, but they are not available to everyone. To determine if you may be eligible, you should understand the basic eligibility requirements.
A “disabling condition”
In order to qualify for SSDI, you must have a “disabling condition.” It is up to the Social Security Administration to make the determination as to what sorts of conditions they consider disabilities. They do this by reviewing your application and the medical evidence you submit.
They then look at whether your condition is on their list of impairments. Even if it is not, you could still be eligible if your condition is severe enough that it prevents you from performing your job – or any job – for at least one year.
Do you have sufficient work credits and history?
To be eligible for SSDI, you must have enough work credits and a recent work history. You can earn up to four work credits per year, and these accumulate based on your wages. To qualify for benefits, you must have enough credits, and a certain amount of your credits must have been earned in the last 10 years.
Generally speaking, the older you are when you become disabled, the more credits you need to be eligible for benefits.
Navigating the legal process
If you feel you meet these criteria, then you may qualify for benefits. However, the Social Security Disability process is notoriously complicated and difficult to navigate effectively. Applications for benefits take several months to get through the process, and the SSA denies a huge number of them initially.
Even if you do not qualify for these benefits, there may be other options worth considering, in particular Supplemental Security Income and workers’ compensation benefits, if your condition stems from a work-related accident.
In either case, it can be wise to work with an attorney to pursue the benefits you may be eligible to receive following a serious personal injury.