Social Security and Short Term Disability

“If I am involoved in an accident and cannot work, when should I apply for Social Security Disability?”

The short answer to the question is as soon as your doctor finds that your will be disabiled for at least one year following your accident.

For purposes of this question, it will be assumed you were not injured at work, otherwise you would have applied for Worker’s Compensation benefits.

An off-the-job trip and fall accident would be covered by short term state disability for the first six months following the accident.  After six months, you could be eligible for Social Security Disability.

Short Term Disability

Every New York employee is covered by short term state disability insurance that is paid for out of premiums collected out of payroll deductions every pay period.  An employee should file a disability claim with their employer within 30 days after their accident.  (There is a two-part form, one completed by the employee, one completed by the treating doctor.)  The employer sends the claim to the disability carrier who pays the employee’s disability claim.

If the injured person’s doctor believes their patient will be disabled for over a year, then the injured person can file for Social Security Disability immediately after being told that.  We have had some clients over the years who have applied for Social Security Disability within the first six months following an accident and have been successful with their initial application for Social Secutiy Disabiliy.  Thus, when short term disability runs out after 26 weeks, Social Security Disability benefits start right after short term disability benefits end.

An off-the-job motor vehicle accident is a little more complicated.  Injured parties should apply for both short term disability benefits through their employer and no-fault lost wage benefits (usualy paid by a person’s own car insurance, but the name of the carrier providing no fault benefits may be more complicated depending on your case) within 30 days after their accident.  Similarly as with trip and fall accidents, we advise our clients to apply for Social Security Disabililty benefits when the treating doctor believes the person will be disabled more than one year.

The no fault carrier will take an offset (that is deduct from the benfits they owe you) any amount you receive from short term disability or Social Security Disability.  No fault benefits will pay an injured party for up to three years following an accident.  There no such cap for Social Security Disability benefits.