Disability Survival 101-Tapping All Possible Sources Of Income

Being unable to earn your regular income can be frightening.  The threat of mounting bills and the possibility of not being able to take care of yourself or your family is a very serious matter.  Having dealt with people in this situation over and over, we are well aware of the problems that you may be facing as a result of your disability.

There are no easy answers or quick fixes.  The New York State Workers’ Compensation system and Federal Social Security Disability programs often involve lengthy delays of months or even years before formal rulings are made on certain issues.  Very few people are able to weather a lengthy delay where they are receiving no income, so it is important to make sure that you have investigated all possible sources of income during this difficult time in your life.  The checklist below can be used to make sure that you have covered all bases:

____ Workers’ Compensation benefits: Workers’ Compensation benefits apply strictly to those who are injured in the course of employment and provide a portion of ones’ lost wages and medical costs.

____ Social Security Disability/Social Security Insurance: Social Security is a federal program that can provide a monetary benefit to those with serious disabilities lasting or expected to last more than one year.  Social Security claims often takes much longer to process and litigate than Workers’ Compensation.

____ Unemployment Benefits: If you are unable to perform your regular job but have been released to do some type of lighter or limited work you may qualify for unemployment benefits.  It is possible to receive both Workers’ Compensation and unemployment benefits at the same time so long as you are ready, willing, and able to perform some type of work.  Contacting the New York State Department of Labor can often provide an additional benefit to partially disabled workers.

____ New York State Disability: New York State Disability benefits are available to those who are unable to work due to a non-occupational illness or injury.  While the extent of these benefits is limited, it is important to file a disability application immediately after a non-occupational illness or injury occurs.

____ Private Disability Insurance Policies: Some people are insured under a private disability policy that they or their employer pays for.  These policies are premium driven and not Federal or State programs.  If you believe that you have purchased a private disability insurance policy or that your employer provides this as an extra benefit to you, it is extremely important that you file your claim as soon as you realize that you are going to be unable to work for an extended period of time.  Many private disability policies have provisions limiting how much can be paid out if you are also receiving other sources of payment outlined above.

Unfortunately, there are situations where none of the above options have resulted in enough income to pay your bills.  In those circumstances it is recommended that you contact your creditors and let them know your situation.  In this day in age, creditors are often willing to accommodate you for a period of time and give you a chance to get back on your feet.

Many of the “legal financing” companies who provide loans to those with pending legal cases will not offer a loan to someone receiving New York State Workers’ Compensation benefits.  The “lawsuit loans” are usually offered for those people with pending personal injury lawsuits and often carry exuberant interest rates.