At Kellum Law Firm, we understand that dealing with the aftermath of a workplace injury or navigating the complexities of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be overwhelming. With laws and procedures constantly evolving, it’s crucial to have reliable, up-to-date information at your fingertips. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of around twenty or so of the most frequently asked questions our Workplace Injury Attorneys are asked, to assist those in North Carolina and beyond in understanding their rights and the legal pathways available for support and compensation.

We aim to empower you to make informed decisions about your future. Whether you’re at the start of your application process, facing the challenges of a denied claim, or simply seeking to understand your entitlements, our FAQs are designed to guide you through each step of the process. As always, these FAQs should not replace direct legal consultation with an attorney if you have been injured in the workplace, or are in the process of starting a SSD or SSDI claim.

Q: What should I do immediately after a workplace injury?

A: The first steps following a workplace injury are critical to ensure your health and safeguard your potential compensation claim. Initially, seek medical attention, even if the injury seems minor, as some symptoms might not appear immediately. Then, report the incident to your employer as soon as possible, detailing how, when, and where the injury occurred. Document everything related to the injury and the accident, including taking photos, if possible, and collecting contact information from any witnesses. This documentation will be invaluable for your claim process, whether for workers’ compensation, SSDI, or SSI.

workplace traumatic injuries and wrongful death

Q: How do I know if my injury or condition qualifies me for SSDI benefits?

A: Qualification for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) hinges on several factors, including your work history and the nature of your disability. To qualify, you must have accumulated enough work credits, which are based on your years of work and contributions to Social Security. Additionally, your condition must meet the SSA’s definition of disability, meaning it significantly limits your ability to perform basic work activities and is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. The SSA maintains a list of medical conditions considered severe enough to automatically qualify as disabilities, though this is not exhaustive. If your condition is not listed, you can still qualify if you can prove it’s as severe as a listed impairment.

Q: Can I receive SSDI or SSI benefits for mental health issues?

A: Yes, mental health conditions can qualify for both SSDI and SSI benefits if they severely restrict your ability to work. Like physical health conditions, the severity of the mental health condition must prevent you from performing any substantial gainful activity and be expected to last at least 12 months. Comprehensive medical evidence from your treating psychiatrists, psychologists, or other mental health professionals is crucial to establishing the severity and impact of your condition.


Q: What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

A: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are both federal programs designed to assist disabled individuals, but they serve different populations based on work history and financial need. SSDI is available to individuals who have worked and paid into the Social Security system for a sufficient number of years. It provides benefits based on your earnings record. Conversely, SSI is a needs-based program for individuals with limited income and resources, regardless of their work history. Both programs require applicants to meet the SSA’s definition of disabled. [Here’s a more in-depth article on the differences between SSD and SSDI]

Q: How long does the SSDI or SSI application process take?

A: The time frame for processing SSDI and SSI applications can vary significantly, typically ranging from a few months to over a year. The duration depends on several factors, including the completeness of your application, the need for medical evidence to support your claim, and the SSA’s current backlog. Applying as soon as possible and ensuring your application is thorough can help expedite the process. If your application is initially denied, which is common, the appeals process can extend the time frame further.


Q: What can I do if my SSDI or SSI claim is denied?

A: If your claim for SSDI or SSI benefits is denied, don’t be discouraged; many claims are initially denied but are later approved during the appeals process. You have the right to appeal the decision within 60 days of receiving your denial notice. The appeals process involves several stages, starting with a reconsideration of your file by a different reviewer. If denied again, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge, where you can present additional evidence and testimony. Given the complexity of appeals, consulting with a knowledgeable disability attorney can significantly improve your chances of success at this stage.

Q: Are family members eligible for benefits under my SSDI?

A: Yes, certain family members may qualify for benefits based on your SSDI eligibility, known as auxiliary benefits. Eligible family members include your spouse, divorced spouse, children, and disabled children, including adults disabled before age 22. The amount they receive is a percentage of your benefit rate, subject to a family maximum. [SSDI Benefits to surviving family members]

Q: How is workers’ compensation different from SSDI and SSI?

A: Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses, regardless of who was at fault. It covers medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. SSDI and SSI, on the other hand, are federal programs providing benefits to individuals who are disabled, not necessarily due to a work-related incident. It’s possible to receive both workers’ compensation and SSDI benefits, but your SSDI benefits may be reduced so that the combined amount doesn’t exceed a certain percentage of your average current earnings. SSI benefits might also be adjusted based on the compensation received.

At Kellum Law Firm, we are committed to advocating for the rights of individuals facing disabilities and injuries, ensuring they receive the benefits and compensation they are rightfully owed. If your questions weren’t addressed or if you need personalized legal advice tailored to your unique situation, our experienced team is here to help.

Working your way around the complex North Carolina legal system can be daunting, particularly given that we’re a state that observes the rather antiquated contributory negligence laws, but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact us to learn more about how we can support you through your legal journey, ensuring you’re equipped with the knowledge, resources, and expert representation needed to secure a positive outcome. At Kellum Law Firm, your justice is our priority and ‘we’re with you all the way’.

Call us 24/7 on 1-800-ACCIDENT

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