If a person is injured in an accident, or has a personal injury claim, there may be simultaneous eligibility for Social Security and SSI disability payments. The advantages of applying for Social Security can include additional income and medical benefits during the years that litigation will take to work to conclusion.
Unlike personal injury or workers compensation cases, causation or liability is not an issue for these Social Security and SSI disability claims. The only question is whether the person can work full-time, and whether the condition has lasted, or is expected to last for at least twelve consecutive months. The big difference is that a claimant might be eligible for Security or SSI even if there is no liability – for example, an injury that was the client’s own fault, such as a one-car accident.
People who can’t work full-time often present with a combination of conditions – rarely the neat packages of cleanly defined conditions that make them immediately eligible for Social Security and SSI disability. They sometimes seek legal advice when they are injured, but they may not be aware or advised of eligibility for these disability benefits. Attorneys who specialize in other areas of the law such as personal injury or workers compensation may not be fully aware of eligibility criteria. There may also be additional eligibility for VA benefits.
It is also important to know that for Social Security disability, the injury does not have to be permanent. Even an injury or condition that resolved after (at least) 12 months can create eligibility for what is called a “closed period” of disability.