There is a reason that most Arizona law firms that practice workers' compensation also handle Social Security Disability claims. The two go hand in hand. It only took me ten years to realize this. When I have represented a client in his or her Workers (Workmans) Compensation Claim, I already have all of his medical records, have already obtained reports from his treating doctors, and already know the client's injuries well.
So which clients qualify for Social Security Disability? As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Social Security Disability is a program for people who have an impairment or combination of impairments which keep them from working for a period of at least 12 consecutive months. Unlike workers' compensation, to qualify for disability, anyone under age 50 generally has to prove that they are incapable of any type of work at all. After age 50, the rules relax somewhat and the burden of proof becomes less.
To qualify, an applicant needs to have worked a total of at least 40 quarters in their lifetime and 20 out of the last 40 quarters (10 years total and 5 out of the last 10 years). Of course, the more an applicant has worked, the higher his or her disability benefit will be. Also, only U.S. Citizens and legal permanent residents can qualify for Social Security Disability or S.S.I.
If I think a client is going to meet the durational requirement (12 months of inability to work) and has sufficient quarters of coverage (5 out of the last 10 years and 10 years total), I always recommend that they apply for SSD benefits.
Chad Snow is an Arizona Attorney who practices Workers' Compensation Law. He also represents his workers (workmans) comp clients in their applications for Social Security Disability. With offices in Phoenix and Tucson, Snow & Carpio represents the rights of injured workers throughout Central and Southern Arizona.