Social Security Disability benefits are generally available to workers in a wide variety of jobs across industries, provided that the individual worker meets program requirements. That said, workers in certain jobs are likely to face specific issues particular to their vocation or industry when seeking benefits. It is important to keep these in mind when dealing with an injury or impairment and considering whether to apply for Disability benefits.
Construction workers, for example, often work under dangerous conditions that can cause accidents and injuries, including those of a longer term nature for which Social Security Disability benefits may be available. About four out of 100 construction workers in the U.S. is injured on the job each year, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, and more than 800 are killed in workplace accidents.
If you’ve been injured in a construction or other workplace accident – or have unrelated physical or mental impairments that keep you from working – you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. In order to be eligible, a worker must show that he or she is unable to work for one year or more due to a physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments. For those injured on the job, it’s important not to wait out the year before filing a claim for benefits. The claim process can be lengthy and it’s crucial that you get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
The process officially begins when a person files an application for benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The application should include any and all available medical documentation and other evidence, not only showing that the person suffers from an impairment or impairments expected to last a year or longer, but detailing exactly how the impairment (s) makes the person no longer able to work. For those in the construction field, it will likely be necessary to establish how the impairment limits the worker’s ability to perform the types of physical tasks often required at a worksite. The SSA will also consider whether the person can perform any other jobs in other industries, based on the worker’s skills, experience and education.
Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation – YOU CAN RECEIVE BOTH
Social Security isn’t the only type of benefits that may be available to a construction professional injured at work. There’s also workers’ compensation, benefits provided by your employer to cover medical bills related to an on-the-job injury, as well as missed wages. Often, a worker can get both worker’s comp and Social Security Disability benefits if he or she meets the requirements for each program. When you receive benefits from both sources there is a limit on the total benefit amount, however. The total of your Workers’ Compensation and SSD benefits can’t go over 80% of your best calendar year’s earnings, if that was within the last five years of work. (If your best earnings were before five years from the onset of disability, the 80% amount is calculated differently.)
If you’re a construction professional no longer able to work due to an injury or impairment suffered on or off the job, it’s important to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney in order to consider your rights and options and take the necessary steps to maximize the compensation to which you’re entitled. At Hermann Law Group, PLLC, our New York Social Security disability lawyers understand that it can be difficult and stressful for persons seeking benefits to navigate the various claims processes alone. Our firm proudly maintains a success rate of just under 90 percent for all Social Security Disability decisions received over the past twelve months. Please call or contact us to set up an appointment.