After a serious work injury or other accident, you may be unable to return to work for some time, or even permanently. Workers compensation should help with the cost of your medical treatments and other expenses, but you may also be able to collect benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This is a government program that provides monthly payments to those who cannot work due to an injury or medical condition. To qualify for SSDI benefits, your condition or combination of conditions must cause a “severe impairment”. Certain illnesses and disorders may automatically qualify as severe impairments. However, you must still submit medical records and other evidence that shows how your disability limits your ability to work.
At Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC, our attorneys have been helping injured Ohio workers get the compensation they need for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses. This includes representing claims for workers compensation and Social Security benefits. In a free consultation, a Social Security disability lawyer from our firm can explain the SSA definition of severe impairment. We can also assist you in gathering the medical records and other documentation you need to file a claim.
Social Security disability benefits are meant for those who cannot work. Therefore, the SSA definition of a “severe impairment” is any condition that seriously limits your ability to work for at least one full year. This generally means you can qualify for Social Security disability benefits only for chronic illnesses or injuries. There are no benefits for temporary disability, and you cannot collect partial payments for less severe conditions.
Additionally, your condition must be disabling enough to keep you from performing any Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). This means you must be unable to perform any work, not just the work entailed in your last job. For example, if you sustained a work injury on a construction site, your condition may keep you from returning to a construction job. However, you may be able to perform other SGA, like an office job, which may prevent you from qualifying for SSDI benefits.
The Social Security Administration sets income limits that determine whether your work qualifies as SGA. These limits change every year. If you make more than the SGA income limits, you cannot qualify for disability benefits. For 2017, these income limits are:
However, having a current income below these limits is not enough to qualify your condition as a severe impairment. The SSA will consider your doctor’s diagnosis, your treatment plan and other factors before making a determination.
The SSA maintains a list of conditions that generally meet the requirements for a severe impairment. This list is extensive, but it is not complete, meaning that you may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits if your condition is not listed. There are 14 major categories of qualifying conditions:
Certain severe conditions qualify for a Compassionate Allowance, which is an expedited approval process that allows you to get benefits faster for life-threatening or fatal conditions.
If you have questions about qualifying for social security disability benefits for your work-related impairment, then contact a Social Security disability lawyer from our law firm today. In a free consultation, we can explain the application process and clarify the definition of severe impairment. We can then help you file your application and can represent you at any necessary hearings or reviews.
We have law offices throughout central Ohio, including locations in Columbus, Zanesville, Newark and Portsmouth. Call our nearest office or contact us online to schedule your free case review today.
“I am very blessed to have found this firm. They have made sure that I have received all the compensation possible related to my claim. This is the firm I would recommend to my own family members and anyone else in need of legal representation due to work related injuries.”
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