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Can I get Disability for a car accident injury?

If you have been injured in a car accident you may have suffered severe, life-threatening car accident injuries. Many car accident injuries are so serious that they can leave you permanently disabled and unable to work.

Many individuals have asked, “Can I get Social Security Disability Insurance for a car accident injury?”

The Social Security Administration offers two types of disability options: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Qualifying for SSDI requires claimants to have worked and earned “work credits.” Claimants who have not worked and paid employment taxes are not considered insured and will not qualify for SSDI.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for low income claimants who have not worked or paid taxes but who are unable to work.
Both programs require all car accident injuries to last for at least 12 continuous months and not allow the claimant to work during this time.

Common Car Accident Injuries and Social Security Disability Benefits

Car accident injuries can vary. First, get immediate medical attention after your car accident. All symptoms should be clearly documented in your medical file and you should get the proper medical treatment for any symptoms or pain.

It is not uncommon for severe car accidents to cause neck, brain or spinal cord injuries which cause permanent disabilities and may not allow you to return to work.

Common car accident injuries can include:

• Knee damage
• Spinal cord injury
• Loss of limbs
• Brain trauma
• Head or Neck injury
• Back injuries

Winning Disability for Car Accident Injuries

One of the major issues with a severe car accident injury is it may be a short-term or temporary condition that will not last for 12 continuous months. This means the Social Security Administration will deny your claim, even if at this moment you are severely injured and unable to work.

Because the SSA does not offer any type of short-term disability benefits, if you have temporary disabilities from your car accident injuries you will have to rely on other types of short-term disability benefits (ex. Compensation from your car insurance).

If you do have a condition that is expected to last 12 continuous months and you are no longer able to perform work at a substantial level, it may be time to apply for either SSDI or SSI benefits.

The SSA will determine whether or not you meet the nonmedical criteria of either the SSDI or SSI program: do you have enough work credits for SSDI or is your income and resource level low enough for SSI. If you meet the nonmedical criteria for one of the programs they will then request your medical records and determine if you are disabled.

Am I disabled?

Whether or not you are disabled will first be determined by evaluating whether your condition is on the SSA Listing of Impairments (i.e. Blue Book). This list is maintained by the SSA and includes all of the diseases and conditions the SSA considers automatically disabling.

For example, if you have a severe back injury which has caused permanent damage to your spine the SSA will evaluate your condition under Section 1.00 Musculoskeletal System, specifically, specifically 1.04 Disorders of the Spine. Common injuries which may be evaluated under this listing include herniated discs, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and vertebral fracture which have compromised the nerve root or the spinal cord.

What if your condition does not meet a listing? You will have to prove that you cannot work any type of work through a medical vocational allowance. Through this process the SSA will evaluate your residual functional capacity and determine (based on your educational level, age, work history and medical conditions) whether you can work your current job, past work or retrain for a new job.