We all work very hard to establish ourselves in our careers. Imagine how devastating then that it would be to see the results of all of that effort taken away in the blink of an eye. You may view the potential of that happening as remote. However, keep in mind that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 3 million people suffered occupational injuries or illnesses in 2014 alone. If an industrial accident forces you to join their ranks, the possibility of your being unable to return to work may suddenly become very real. How then are you to support yourself and your family moving forward?
DOES WORKERS’ COMPENSATION OFFER DISABILITY PAYMENTS?
Your first thought may be to seek workers’ compensation benefits. However, this type of special insurance coverage was designed specifically to help cover any medical expenses associated with an industrial accident. In your case, that may mean hospital and medical bills along with rehabilitation costs. Workers’ compensation may offer some form of a disability benefit, but that is often limited to compensate for lost income while you wait to return to work. Plus, it should be remembered that the law only requires companies in Texas to carry such benefits in very limited circumstances. Thus, it is likely such a benefit may not be available to you at all.
WHAT ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS?
If an industrial or workplace accident leaves you unable to return to work, many may encourage you to seek disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. While these may provide you with some form of financial relief, qualifying for such benefits is anything but certain. According to the SSA’s website, you must meet the following criteria:
- You cannot be making more than a certain amount from any form of work. For 2016, that amount is set at $1,130 per month.
The injuries or condition that you are suffering must directly interfere with your regular work activities.
- You current condition must match the standard set by the SSA’s own list of disabling conditions. These include certain musculoskeletal injuries, exposures that can lead to chronic conditions or illnesses, and accidents that leave you with mental disorders or cognitive deficits. Typically, these conditions are considered to be permanent or ones that will result in death. If they do not meet this criteria, they must be shown to be anticipated to endure for at least 12 months.
- Your injuries will not allow you to return to doing the same type of work that you did previously.
- The injuries you suffered will not allow you to resume any other type of work. When considering comparable jobs that you may be able to do, the SSA considers your prior experience, as well as your educational background and/or any transferable skills that you have.
- Even in the event that your are able to qualify for disability benefits, the money that you receive will likely not approach that which you may have earned previously. In most cases, benefits will not exceed 2/3 of the amount of your prior annual salary.
WHY YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER LEGAL ACTION
How are you to then go on continuing the life that you and your family have become accustomed to, or seeing to yours, your spouse’s and your children’s financial needs in the future? The best way to guarantee your financial stability given the limitations imposed by your accident may be to pursue legal action against those responsible for the event that left you in this condition.
Ask anyone who has suffered a debilitating injury, and you are likely to hear that the resultant pain and suffering does not end upon being discharged from the hospital or completing rehabilitation. Rather, it can last throughout the remainder of your life. Dealing with such struggles may be made much easier if you are able to earn some form of compensation for your injuries. Experienced industrial accident attorneys like Dugas Law Firm can help you protect your legal rights and get the compensation you need and deserve.