Can You Get Disability for an Old Injury?

Can You Get Disability for an Old Injury?

California’s State Disability Insurance (“SDI”) and the Federal Social Security Disability benefits programs replace a portion of an injured worker’s wages and income when injuries keep them from working.  Disability benefits are different from workers’ compensation benefits, which replace wages when an employee is unable to work due to a job-related injury. A worker’s disability does not need to be due to a recent accident or ailment, but can be the result of an old injury or illness that flares up or causes decreased abilities to perform normal employment functions. 

The personal injury lawyers at Ellis Injury Law in Los Angeles represent disabled California workers to help recover the largest disability income benefits that may be available to them under Federal and State law. We help clients to file complete and accurate disability claims when they first become unable to work and to appeal claims that are rejected or are for a lower amount than a disabled worker is entitled to receive. 

What are the basic requirements to receive disability benefits? 

California imposes strict eligibility requirements for disability income, including: 

  • an inability to work for at least eight straight days 
  • seeking or continuing employment at the onset of a disability 
  • lost or reduced wages due to a disability 
  • proof of care by a physician or health care practitioner during the first eight days of the disability, and medical certification of the disability 

Disabled employees that meet these requirements must submit their claim to California’s Employment Development Department on a specific form between 9 and 49 days after the disability first prevents them from working. The eligibility requirements for Federal Disability benefits are similarly strict and have different timing and filing deadlines. 

Can a pre-existing illness or injury form the basis of a disability claim? 

Both Federal and California State agencies will pay close attention to an applicant’s claim of the date on which he or she became disabled. Old injuries can cause impairments that set in overtime and medical conditions can become progressively worse as a person ages. With these slowly-developing disabilities, an individual may be confused about when the disability began.  A knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer will often connect the onset of a disability with a specific doctor’s appointment or hospitalization to demonstrate the point in time when a pre-existing illness or injury led to the disability that prevented a person from working. 

Can your disability claim be denied because you previously worked while suffering from an old disability? 

Your attempts and abilities to work despite an old or ongoing disability should not work against you, but Federal and State agencies might deny your disability claim if you are unable to demonstrate why you are now unable to work whereas previously you could work. An individual will need to present objective medical evidence of a worsening disability to validate a claim. The employee may then be required to submit to additional medical examinations before a claim is approved.  Consult with an experienced attorney before you agree to those examinations to preserve and protect your right to receive the disability income you deserve.  

Can you get both disability benefits and damages for lost wages after you are injured in an accident? 

Lost wages and reductions in future earnings are often significant components in personal injury lawsuits that an accident victim will file to recover damages from a  negligent party. In most cases, an injured party will not be entitled to double recovery of lost income. Personal injury attorneys will combine all sources of damages recovery to get their clients the largest available compensation after accidental or pre-existing injuries prevent them from working. The specific facts of each case will determine how an accident and injury attorney will combine claims to recover that compensation. 

The personal injury lawyers at Ellis Injury Law help California workers to recover disability benefits for old injuries  

Please see our website, or call Ellis Injury law to consult with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer about how you can file your Federal and State disability claims in ways that will improve your chances to recover the largest available disability benefits payments. We have helped individuals through Southern California recover the full amount of compensation they deserve.