Your Personal Injury, Workers' Comp, Disability and Family Law Concerns Put to Rest
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My employer doesn't offer a disability benefits plan. Is this illegal?
No. ERISA only requires employers to follow certain rules once a disability plan is established. The act does not require employers to start a disability plan, however.
My disabled adult child cannot manage his/her benefits from the SSA. Can I manage them?
Yes. Beneficiaries can choose a representative payee to manage their benefits for them. You can apply to be a payee at the Social Security Administration's website.
Will trying to work stop my benefits?
Not right away. You can participate in trial work programs and continue receiving disability payments. You can work and earn an income over what is considered "substantial gainful activity" for nine months, not necessarily consecutive, within a five year period. Once you reach this limit, your benefits will stop.
When will my benefits stop?
Your benefits continue for the length of your disability, until you return to substantial gainful activity, or become disqualified in any other way. When you reach retirement age, your Social Security disability benefits continue, but are called "retirement benefits" instead.
Does my SSI/SSD approval entitle me to any other benefits?
Yes. If your application for Social Security Disability benefits is approved, you can get Medicare coverage to help offset the cost of your medical care. Supplemental Security Income recipients can get Medicaid and food stamps to help them pay for essential services.
Do benefits change from month to month?
Not unless your income changes. Because SSI benefits are determined by deducting your income from a federal rate, your benefits will decrease if your income increases. SSD benefits are determined by your past work, so it is less likely that these benefits will change during your disability.
What if I don't agree with the date they say my disability started?
You can appeal. If you feel that you are entitled to benefits starting from an earlier time than the SSA determined, contact an attorney to begin the appeals process. Some claimants are awarded more benefits because they can provide more or better documentation for their conditions.
How do I know if/when I will get benefits?
After you apply for benefits, you will have to wait a few months to get a decision. Whether the Social Security Administration approved or denied your benefits, you will receive a letter in the mail stating their decision. The SSA begins paying benefits in the sixth month after a person's disability starts; this date is included in the letter sent to your home.
My 19 year old son/daughter was injured at work recently. How does this factor into their workers' compensation claim?
Younger workers are given special consideration when the average weekly wage is computed to arrive at a lost wages settlement. People under 22 years can expect to have their wages increase at rates faster than older workers, so their injuries may impede upon this. Therefore, reasonable measures are taken to compute the average weekly wage. An attorney can help to explain this process and make the computations according to the law.
What if my injury prevents me from doing the job(s) I've done all my life?
The law provides employees an outlet for retraining and job opportunities. If you have been injured on the job so severely that you cannot return, you can work with the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitationoffice to explore your options. The workers' compensation section has a brief overview of what the division offers. You can find vocational counseling, job-seeking skills, on-the-job training, job placement, and retraining opportunities through the web site.