If you live in one of several states, insurance adjusters might want to know about your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, especially if you were injured in a crash and the insurance company is paying you for missed work. When a policyholder is injured in a car accident and cannot work, some states require the insurance company to pay a percentage of the injured party’s wages until they are cleared to return to work.
If the injured party applies for and starts receiving SSDI, though, the insurance company can reduce what it pays by the amount of the SSDI benefit. Because of this loophole, you might find yourself on the phone with an adjuster who asks about your SSDI benefits and pressures you to apply for them if you have not already.
Should I Apply for SSDI Benefits if an Insurance Company Adjuster Asks Me To?
Just because an insurance company adjuster suggests that you should apply for SSDI benefits or puts pressure on you to do so does not mean it is in your best interest.
If you receive a phone call or letter like this from your auto insurance company—and they have been increasingly common in several states including Michigan—you should speak with a lawyer before agreeing to discuss the specifics of your disability situation or medical condition with an insurance adjuster.
If You Are Disabled for 12 Months or More
It is possible that applying for SSDI is the right thing to do. This is the case if you have reason to believe, or if your doctor has told you, that you will be fully disabled and incapable of maintaining gainful employment for at least 12 months.
A total disability expected to last at least 12 months is one of the main requirements for SSDI, and if you do not meet it, you are more than likely wasting your time applying. Moreover, your application will needlessly clog up the queue, forcing those with actual legitimate claims for benefits to wait longer to begin receiving them.
Can My Insurance Company Force Me to Apply for SSDI Benefits?
There is no basis in any state law for an insurance company adjuster to require or pressure a policyholder to apply for SSDI. Several state laws do require policyholders to exercise a reasonable level of cooperation with their insurance company after an accident, but that does not mean you have to do everything the adjuster says without questioning it.
Policyholders can report that their insurance adjusters continued to pressure them to apply for SSDI even though they were planning and hoping to return to work within the next few months. Pressuring an able-bodied person to forgo work in favor of collecting government benefits they do not actually need is counterproductive.
If you receive a call from your insurance company adjuster who brings up the topic of SSDI, you should politely end the call and speak with a lawyer before agreeing to continue the discussion any further.
Can I Qualify for SSDI for My Car Accident Injuries?
It is very possible that you could qualify for SSDI based on the injuries you suffered in your car accident. But it is not up to your insurance company or its adjuster to decide whether you qualify or even whether you should apply.
The medical requirements for SSDI are as follows:
- You have a medical condition that impairs your functional capacity to the extent that you cannot secure and maintain substantially gainful employment.
- Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months.
SSDI also has non-medical requirements involving your income and payroll tax history. To qualify for benefits, you must have a sufficient history of working and paying into the system via your payroll taxes.
If you do not, then you might be able to qualify for the other disability program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is means-tested and available exclusively to those with low incomes and limited assets. A disability attorney can review your financial situation and determine which program is right for you.
To Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Social Security Disability Attorney, Call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, at 866-628-8179
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, want to help you with any challenges you have regarding Social Security disability. If an insurance adjust wants to know about your SSDI benefits, consider speaking with one of our lawyers. We offer a free consultation and case evaluation. Call 866-628-8179 today to speak with an attorney.