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Disability benefits for short-term conditions

How can I get help for a short-term health condition?

One of the most common questions on our forum is, “Can I get SSDI or SSI benefits for a short-term disabling health condition?” Unfortunately, SSI or SSDI are offered to claimants whose condition is not expected to last for at least 12 continuous months. So the Social Security Administration does not offer any type of short-term disability benefits to injured or sick claimants.

Why doesn’t the government offer any types of short-term disability benefits for short-term conditions? Honestly, the inefficiency of the government would not even allow for the distribution of short-term disability benefits for short-term conditions. Most claimants would be healed and back to work before they would most likely receive their first short-term disability benefit payment.

What is another reason? The expectation is that most American workers understand they need to save and prepare for the possibility that they could experience some interruption in their employment. So whether there is an economic downturn, a loss of job or a short-term sickness, it is expected that you should have some type of emergency fund to support yourself and would not need short-term disability benefits from the Federal Government.

Other options available for short-term Disabilities health

Sick Leave

Most employers offer full-time workers some type of paid leave. It may be called sick pay or paid time off but this short-term disability benefit is generally the best option for workers who are sick and cannot work. Some employers will also allow workers to take vacation pay if their sick leave is exhausted.

Personal injury Lawsuit Awards

Other individuals who have been injured due to the negligence of another person may be able to file a personal injury claim and win compensation for their injuries. The most common example of personal injury claims results from serious car accidents. Although not all states allow a driver to file a lawsuit against another driver, if you have been injured in a car accident which was not your fault you may be able to get compensation either from your own insurance (in a no-fault state) or through the insurance of the other driver.

Compensation for personal injury claims should provide the injured party (who is injured from the negligence of another person) with compensation for their medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Worker’s Compensation Benefits

Workers compensation is available to covered workers who are injured during the course of their normal employment. Workers compensation, unlike a personal injury case, does not require the worker to prove that their employer was negligent for their work injuries only that the injuries were a direct result of their work duties. Workers compensation will cover the cost of medical bills, wage replacement, funeral expenses, and job retraining costs (if necessary). For many injured workers, worker’s compensation will be their best chance to get short-term disability benefits.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA was created in 1993 to provide time-off from work for sick employees or employees who had family members who needed assistance. FMLA does not provide any type of wage replacement for the worker, but it will protect the employee from being fired if they have to miss work due to specific reasons.

After reviewing this list you might be even more discouraged, especially if you are a part-time worker or you work for an employer who does not provide any of these benefits. In this case you may have to get a bit more creative if you need to generate cash while you are unable to work. You may have to rely more heavily on friends and family, consider selling your assets or taking out a temporary loan to meet your daily expenses.

So what is the bottom line? Do not rely on SSDI or SSI benefits if you have a short-term health condition. SSDI and SSI can be necessary for claimants with a severe long-term health condition, but it can takes months to get SSDI and SSI and if your condition is short-term, they are not the right disability benefits for you.
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