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Should/Must I Wait Until My Workers Compensation Case Is Over Before I File for Social Security Disability?

 

QUESTION:

 

I got hurt at work in 2011 and have been collecting  workmens comp.  I was told not to apply for SSDI until my WC case was over.  Now that my case is almost over, I will be able to apply for SSDI. My question is, can or will the SSA go back months or years and make the difference from 2011 until now?

 

ANSWER:

 

Oh my. I have seen far too many WC attorneys give this very bad advice. It is unreal. First, you can only get back benefits for the 12 months preceding your date of application (after a 5 month waiting period)... so if found disabled as far back as 2011 you will never get paid back to then. So file now. If you want a protective filing (you should - so you can then take time to do proper paperwork to retain attorney and properly take time to gather and fill out data forms so a strong final application can be filed shortly there after), make sure to do it before end of Sept. (this month), so you don't lose yet another month of retro benefits by waiting til October.

 

While some lawyers don't prefer to (and won't) agree to accept your case if you haven't already applied for SSD/SSI and/or also been denied - Joy Disability does.  In fact, we prefer it, as we believe it makes your case stronger and gives it a better chance of winning, and earlier in the process.

 

Another negative about not having filed as soon as you were out of work and realized it may be more than a short term leave: SSD is like term insurance. It runs out a max of 5 years after you stop working. Your DLI (date last insured) is breathing down your neck. (You can find that date by calling 1 800 772-1213 and asking for your "date last insured.") This means two negatives:

 

1) you will likely ONLY have 1 chance to file an application. If you lose the end game on that application, you have no more chances.  (Which means you need to work at least 5 years PT, to gain insured status back again.)  You lose SSD AND you likely severely impair your future SS Retirement benefit amount as well. And ...

 

2) Your window to produce material evidence is not ongoing and you can't generally create PAST evidence to prove a past fact. (We have some strategies, but they are far from guaranteed.) If your evidence is very stellar (and with WC, it often is not), this may not be such an issue, but often it is.

Please DO hire an experienced SSD lawyer, who concentrates in this area. You likely have one bite of the SSD apple and you don't want to increase your chances of losing it by winging this.  I don't recommend using a high volume based advocacy office/firm, as you will likely never hear from the ever-changing slew of people in charge of your case work up, at any given time.  I also don't recommend using a general practitioner or the same lawyer you are using for your WC claim.

Whoever told you to not file for SSD (which you CAN file for while you have any other case pending, including WC, and SHOULD), should be tarred and feathered. If that was a lawyer, clearly he is not the lawyer that practices SSD. Also know that you need not hire a lawyer in PA but because this is federal, any state attorney who practices SSD substantially, and who otherwise meets to your satisfaction, can be your choice. While those of us in PA are at you disposal, the nation is your oyster. Just make sure he/she is experienced, responsive and not overloaded with too many cases he can't provide you and your case the attention is requires. But most importantly, do not delay. September is more than 1/2 over, so let's get that protective fiing in asap. An experienced attorney can get that for you with 3 minutes on the phone. Reach out.
 

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Social Security Disability

Stephanie O. Joy

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