Just because you get accepted for Social Security Disability, doesn’t mean you are going to be totally covered. Here’s the trap that our attorneys frequently see auto accident victims fall into:
To ensure that an individual has a long-term disability, Social Security Disability benefits are not available until a person has been disabled for five full calendar months. Meanwhile, many car accident victims will receive No-Fault benefits for lost wages from their own insurance companies to keep them afloat — as they are too injured to return to work.
But if you’re accepted for Social Security Disability after an auto accident, you will have to re-pay your own insurance company for any wage loss benefits you received prior to your SSD approval.
In addition, if you were receiving any kind of short-term disability from your employer, both the short-term disability insurance company and the automobile insurance company are entitled to repayment. This situation leaves the victim having to pay back double any amount he has ever received.
When an injured person is approved for SSD, the person who caused the accident also wins. In a normal case, the negligent driver is responsible for any wage loss past the first three years of the accident. This is called excess economic loss. However, if a car accident victim is approved for SSD, the negligent driver is entitled to an offset from the damages he caused. In other words, the public taxpayers are made to pay for the actions of a person who causes a car accident— because Social Security Disability benefits are federally funded.
Keep in mind that if your no-fault insurer requests that you apply for Social Security, you do have a duty to cooperate, but your duty has important limits. Contact a Michigan Auto Law attorney at (800) 777-0028 as soon as an insurance adjuster instructs you to apply. Or fill out our free consultation form.