Worker’s compensation offers many protections to workers in New York, including medical treatment, wage replacement and death benefits for the families of those workers whose occupational injuries have resulted in death. In New York, any business that has at least one employee must carry worker’s compensation, and the only exceptions to this law are for sole proprietors, partnerships, small corporations, or non-profit or religious organizations.
Worker’s compensation, however, is only a temporary status, conditional upon the individual’s recovery and ability to perform their job function at the same level as before. Workers whose workplace injuries prevent full recovery or from returning to work, however, may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
What is a Social Security Disability (SSD)?
Because individuals may become disabled in any number of ways, they may qualify for SSD benefits by meeting the definition of what disability is. The Social Security Administration defines a qualifying disability as a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that prevents an afflicted individual from engaging in any substantial gainful activity (SGA). The impairment may be expected to result in death, or it must have lasted or is anticipated to last at least 12 months.
Such a broad definition can encompass many kinds of impairments, and may include:
- Musculoskeletal disorders such as back injuries
- Special senses and speech, which can include vision and hearing loss
- Mental disorders such as anxiety, depression or autism
- Immune system disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or HIV/AIDS
- Cardiovascular system, including heart disease or coronary artery disease
- Respiratory disorders, including asthma or COPD
How do I receive benefits?
The level of benefit to which an individual is entitled under Social Security is a complex calculation that factors in income level as well as how much they have paid into Social Security during their work history. In order to be eligible, the individual must not only meet the definition of disabled but also to have been disabled for a significant amount of time.
When filing a claim, it is important to have the help of knowledgeable legal counsel who have vast experience navigating the complex New York worker’s compensation and disability systems. Understanding the requirements for filing a claim can be overwhelming, so it is important to have guidance on the steps necessary to pursue the benefits to which you are entitled.