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Temporary disability how do I apply?

Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “I have been injured in a car accident. I know the government provides disability benefits to workers who are unable to work. I am wondering how I apply for temporary disability?”

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Temporary disability and government benefits


One of the great misconceptions about benefits offered by the federal government is that workers who are injured can get temporary disability. Although you do not have to be permanently injured to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI), your condition does have to last for at least 12 continuous months.

What happens if I apply for SSDI benefits for a temporary disability?

Workers who are injured in a car accident or who are unable to work due to any type of disabling health condition may be severely injured and currently unable to work. Unless your condition is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months, however, the SSA will immediately deny your case. Unfortunately, this leaves many claimants who are severely injured without any federal disability options.

So what do you do if you cannot work but you cannot qualify for SSDI benefits? The federal government does not offer any temporary disability benefits because the expectation is that workers will have saved sufficient funds to support themselves through periods of unemployment. Common means to support yourself could include savings, credit cards, loans, and money given to you by friends and family.

What about personal injury and workers compensation?


You did not mention whether you were injured at work or whether another person caused your injuries, but other options for payment could include filing a personal injury claim or a workers’ compensation claim.

For instance, workers who are injured performing their normal job requirements may be able to receive workers’ compensation if they are injured at work. Although payments are determined by state laws, compensation for injury can include death benefits, medical care, and temporary wage replacement benefits.

Another option for payment if your injuries were caused by another person’s negligence is to file a personal injury claim against the other driver. Most car accident claims are settled directly with the offending party’s insurance company, but some states may also allow you to file a personal injury claim against the driver if their insurance coverage is insufficient or if the insurance company offers an unfair settlement.

Bottom Line:

Temporary disability is much more likely than permanent disability. For this reason workers should protect themselves by saving at least 6 months worth of income in case they become disabled and are unable to work.

It’s important to note that conditions do not have to be permanent to qualify for SSDI benefits. If your condition only lasts 12 months you may still qualify for what the SSA terms closed period benefits. Talk to the SSA if your condition only lasted 12 months and you have returned to work. You may qualify for SSDI benefits for the months that you were not able to work.