What to Do If You Are Injured Outside of Work?

What to Do If You Are Injured Outside of Work?
When you’re injured in an accident, worrying about paying the bills can be stressful, especially if the injury leaves you unable to work. If you get hurt on the job, you can expect workers’ compensation insurance to cover some of your losses. But what happens if you get injured outside of work? Sometimes, you have the option to file a personal injury claim against a negligent party, but this is not always possible. In these cases, you can apply for disability benefits to help cover costs through the federal or state of California system. Let’s take a closer look at how to file for disability benefits if you’re injured and can’t work, how to apply for them, and when to call an attorney like Henderson Law for help.

Types of Disability Benefits in California

California’s State Disability Insurance (SDI) is a program administered by the Employment Development Department (EDD). Its primary purpose is to provide partial wage replacement to eligible workers who can’t work due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy-related condition. To qualify for SDI benefits, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be unable to do your regular or customary work for at least eight consecutive days;
  • Have earned enough wages in the base period to establish a claim, which is usually the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the quarter in which you file your claim; and
  • Be under the care and treatment of a licensed physician/practitioner or authorized healing arts practitioner.

The application process for SDI benefits involves several steps.

  • File a Claim. You can file a claim for SDI benefits online, by mail, or by phone. You must provide personal information, details about your employment history, and information about your medical condition.
  • Medical Certification. Your physician/practitioner must complete a medical certification form (DE 2501) confirming your inability to work due to your medical condition.
  • EDD Review. The EDD will review your claim and medical certification to determine your eligibility for benefits.
  • Wait for a Decision. It may take a few weeks for the EDD to process your claim and make a decision. If approved, you will receive a notice indicating the amount and duration of your benefits.

When navigating the complexities of disability claims in California, securing the benefits you deserve can be challenging. If you find your SDI benefits denied or insufficient, seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney can make all the difference.

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that provides financial assistance to individuals with limited income and resources who are aged, blind, or disabled. Unlike Social Security Disability Insurance, which is based on prior work credits, SSI is a needs-based program intended to ensure a minimum level of income for eligible individuals. To qualify for SSI benefits, you must be a U.S. citizen or resident, aged (65 or older), blind, or disabled, with limited income and resources. The steps to apply are similar to California’s process:

  • Initial Application. You can apply for SSI benefits online, by phone, or in person at your local Social Security office. You must provide personal information, details about your income and resources, and information about your disability.
  • Medical/Financial Evaluation. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will review your medical records, income, and other resources to determine if you meet the disability criteria for SSI eligibility.
  • Decision. It may take several months for the SSA to process your SSI application. If approved, you will receive a notice detailing the amount of your SSI benefits and when they will begin.

Just like with state disability benefits, being denied or given the wrong amount is a possibility, and seeking out an attorney may be necessary.

Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides benefits to individuals who are disabled and unable to work due to a qualifying medical condition. Unlike SSI, SSDI is based on prior work credits and is available to those who have paid Social Security taxes over a certain period. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have a medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. You must also have earned a certain number of work credits, based on your age when you became disabled, and must be under the full retirement age. The application process for SSDI benefits is similar to the state and SSI systems, and includes:

  • Filing an initial application;
  • Undergoing a medical evaluation; and
  • Waiting for a decision

Like SSI, it may take several months for the Social Security Administration to process your application.

What to Do if Injured Outside of Work

After sustaining an injury outside of work, taking the right steps is crucial to ensure you receive the necessary care and support. First, seek medical attention, even for seemingly minor injuries. Prompt treatment not only ensures your well-being but also creates a record of your injury, which can be important for any future disability claims or legal actions. If the injury occurred on someone else’s property or in a car accident, be sure to report the injury to relevant authorities if necessary, as this could also be vital to preserving evidence for a possible personal injury claim. Most importantly, you should maintain thorough records of the injury and any medical treatment you receive, including medical bills, doctor’s notes, prescriptions, and any other relevant documents. These records can be invaluable when applying for disability benefits or pursuing legal action if denied or underpaid.

Can I Get Disability If I Got Hurt Outside Of Work?

If you have suffered an off-the-job injury and are worried about qualifying for benefits, Henderson Law is here to help. With nearly three decades of experience, Michael Henderson has built a reputation in the Santa Rosa legal community for his dedicated advocacy and track record of success. To set up a free consultation, call our office or fill out our online contact form today.