Sunday, June 2, 2013

You & Social Security Disability After A Car Accident

SEATTLE (ESTRA) --For most people, this fork in the road of moving from Short-Term Disability to Long-Term Disability invokes emotions and confusion of where life is going, and what it personally means for future.  Especially if there is a time between Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Income Benefits due of a 30-90 waiting period.  Who figured? Do you remember anyone mentioning this as part of policy?

In my opinion, some employers add a clause in their Group Disability Insurance Policies that require their Long-Term Insureds to apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) within 6 months after becoming disabled in order to reduce their payments or to possibly eliminate the injured’s claim entirely.  Why do so many disabled give up?  Most sick or injured individuals do not have the fortitude, knowledge, or resources to fight for themselves during this process, thus, ending up living in poverty.  Do many Insurance Companies or Corporations, made at the expense of their victims, earn profits?  Where are legislation protections for the sick or injured?  Does Social Security Disability currently have the same roles it once had in past generations for the Poor and Middle Class?  Do Insurance Companies or Corporations have too much control over SSDI?  Where does this leave you, after being in a car accident with a Long-Term Disability?

Each day, individuals and families wake up performing their daily routines, thinking life will be ordinary.  Yet, for 1000+ of these individuals, life changes today.  Perhaps this is a good thing, because I suspect it would be difficult constantly worrying what disaster is going to happen to you. 

Thankfully, most of us make it through days, weeks, months, or years with only minor or major issues that do not drastically change our way of life.  But, sadly some of us do have a life altering experience.  And when this happens, it test how well we’ve prepared for unexpected. 

In previous generations, one could depend on employer benefits, insurance policies we have been paying premiums on, savings, and family support.  In my opinion, the majority of people realized importance self-respect and integrity, doing the right thing was held in high esteem, there was an accountability for ones actions, and scoundrels were looked down upon. 

From my perspective, these values held the fabric of society together for majority of people.  When someone was injured in a car accident, networks around this individual worked together in hopes of restoring some balance to that individual or families' life.  Friends, community, employers, state and federal resources all chipped in.  We indeed felt like "we" were our brother’s keeper.

But, something changed, the focus turn from “we” to “I”.  Employers began looking out more for themselves and less for their employees. Eradicating to a large degree of employee loyalty, forcing them to take more of an “I” approach to their jobs.  Individuals began to think more about their lives than those around them, sometimes this included their partners,  children, or even parents.  Many people began to reach for fame or fortune at the expense of all else.  Thinking life would become better.  But did it?

Then a dream shattering experienced happens in a generations where “I” has been the focus for many instead of “we”.  Employers pay more attention to their bottom lines, Insurance companies to their investors, couples separate because they don’t want to be held down by the burden of the injuries of their partner.  Government have been shaken down by the politics of Corporate America, and Social Security Disability is no longer safety net it once use to be.  In my opinion, this is a snowballing affect of moving from a society of “we the people” to “I the person”.  From my perspective, there should be room for both “we” and “I”,  providing a balanced life.

Is this a case of doom and gloom?  Not really.  It is my belief that many people who end up being on short end of the stick, begin to realize the value of being a “we” more than “I”.  An example of this can be seen in our most recent problems in New York, New Jersey Shores, home foreclosures, recession, sequestration, the list goes on and on. 

Fortunately, many people still hold to the value of being their brother’s keeper.  Everyday heroes act daily.  It is up to each person to stand and speak out for things that will make our society a better place to live for all of "us".  Many people are ruled by fear, and stand idly by allowing suffering at expense of many for the greed of a few.  This is not the time to be afraid, no one else can stand in your place, your courage fills that space, individual lack of action can contribute to tragedy and despair. Let action bring change and positive outcomes.

So what can you expect today if you’ve been injured in a Car Accident?  Since we are primarily living in an “I” society.  Your employer will more likely to throw you under the bus after approximately two years of paying out on your long-term disability policy, and unfortunately, the legislation Congress enacted, ERISA allows very little recourse.  Your Employer Group Long-Term Disability Policy may require you to apply for Social Security Disability.  Some hope that you will be denied, and thus, deny your claim. Yet, are private company disability policies govern to play by the same rules as Social Security Disability?  Or, do have they been granted a whole set of new rules?  Rules not necessarily in the best interest of disabled employees?    

Furthermore, your Auto Insurance Company may pay loss wages (under PIP) for several months before looking for ways not to, which may leave you in a very bad placed when injured.  Has hitting a person when they are down, become fair play in today’s society?   

Not only has injured gotten a raw deal from being hurt, perhaps the real “screw” has not even begun. 

Poor and Middle Class used to be able to rely at least on Social Security Disability in case disaster strikes surprisingly.  Each paycheck, a premium on this insurance policy is paid.  In past generations, this prevented many people from falling into object poverty.  It would cover necessities of food, housing, and utilities.  And, it was available for most sick or injured people.  This insurance program was out of reach from Wall Street in its inception and therefore holding its own weight.  In others, sufficient. 

However, the average social security disability benefits today goes possibly half as far, if you can even get it.  Most benefits will not cover housing alone in most parts of the country, not to mention food, or utilities.  The disabled now have to be concerned with how they are going to survive each month, their injuries, and the impact on their life.  By this time, many employers have exited the scene, taking with them the LTD benefits of their now ex-employees typically.  If employers are required to pay out benefits instead of imploding policies with clauses which allow them passes to get out of claims, these resources would normally allow sick and injured people to survive by providing desperately needed resources employees paid premiums for.  In my opinion, this should apply to Auto Insurance Companies, too.

Many individuals are glad they are receiving Social Security Disability, because they would have next to nothing.  Most, people live paycheck to paycheck, and many make less than $25,000 year, which in our society is difficult to live on.  The majority of disabled live in poverty, unnecessarily for the most part I might add, the additional benefits from employers and insurance companies would reduce these numbers.  Why does Social Security Disability bear brunt of caring for the disabled?  In my opinion, it’s back to the “I” phenomenon and “we” suffer. 

Not all Social Security Offices are created equal for service.  Power in the hands of some individuals is a very dangerous thing, especially if it influences your life in this fragile state.  Let us hope at some point, Social Security Adminstration (SSA) begins to reign in this type of behavior, but until then, post reviews online.  It may be worth it to find an office that treats patrons with respect and dignity, and where honesty is a valued commodity.

Many Social Security Disability Attorneys navigate through process well, but make sure to review their credentials and online comments about their work.  It may well be worth the cost.

Social Security Disability Benefits can be stopped just as your Employer Long-Term Disability (LTD), Auto Insurance Personal Injury (PIP) wage loss, unfortunately.  Today, in my opinion, counting on any of these resources may set you up for a big financial fall.  Saving is very important, because you never know what any of these companies will do. 

Social Security Administration performs review on your claim periodically, so at some point you may be under surveillance. 

With any of these organizations, communicate only the facts of your case, be your best advocate, do the best you can, and realize any agendas will rise to surface, especially if not in your best of interest.  Regardless, do not give up.  Keep the faith and good attorneys.  

Whatever your experience is with processing your claim through SSDI, stay determined to stay the course.  You did not expect your life to take a turn for worst when injured in a car accident.  Good things can come your way just as quickly as misfortune.  So keep your chin up, be determined to fight.  In my opinion, today’s systems are setup against the injured and sick.  Many spend too much time and use the little money they have in attempts to stay afloat, while those who should be paying out benefits delay, deny, or roll it into their own profits.  

From my perspective,  if there are strong ties between Big Business and Social Security, Poor and Middle Class will be at a disadvantage to receive services past generations were confident would be theirs.  Pay close attention to legislation Congress is attempting to pass regarding Social Security.  Where things go from here are up to each one of us.  Choosing to stand up for our rights individually and collectively.   In this way, what’s been gained by past generation is not lost in a single one.  Regardless of the trials and tribulations endured after a traffic collision, as long as you do not give up, positive change will eventually come.

Thanks for visiting.   
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ESTRA Seattle Car Accident Advocate

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"Be Car Accident Ready." - ESTRA Seattle This means when the unexpected occurs, you know what to do and where to find support and answers. Where is this?