Think You Deserve Disability What Are the Next Steps?

Post by: Eric Jones | Posted Date: September 29th, 2017 |

Suffering an injury or illness that leaves you unable to work and earn a living can leave you feeling helpless and hopeless. The good news is that several governmental and private programs exist to keep people with short- and long-term disabilities from experiencing undue financial hardships. The bad news is that none of the programs award benefits automatically, each imposes strict criteria for qualifying to receive payments, and most serve only a specific group of people.


Applying to the wrong program, submitting incomplete information, or even waiting too long after an accident to request disability benefits can disqualify even the most-deserving person. Columbus Disability attorneys with the Jones Law Group welcome questions and requests for assistance from anyone who believes they, a spouse, a dependent child, or an adult in their care deserves disability benefits. No-cost, no-obligation consultations can be scheduled by calling (614) 545-9998 or filling out this online contact form.


Some basic information that anyone who wants to know when and how to apply for disability in Ohio follows.


Programs That Pay Disability Benefits in Ohio


  • Ohio Workers’ Compensation — Available to individuals who suffer injuries or fall ill while engaged in job-related activities. Benefits are usually intended to be temporary, and participation in rehabilitation programs may be required. Benefits can be paid as lump-sum settlements, in monthly installments, or a combination of those, and payments are available for wage replacement, medical expenses, and loss of a limb, digit, or eye.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) — Available to people who have paid into Social Security. Benefits are intended for people who have been disabled for at least 12 months and have little or no chance of recovering. Benefits are paid monthly and may be paired with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) when a recipient has no income and few financial resources.
  • Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) — Available to state and local government workers, including law enforcement personnel and professional fire and rescue people. Similar public retirement and disability programs exist for public school teachers, state college and university faculty, and school support personnel. Eligibility for SSDI can make receiving disability benefits from OPERS and the equivalent programs impossible. Benefits are paid monthly and can be requested for short- or long-term disabilities.
  • Disability Insurance — Most companies that offer health and life policies also sell short- and long-term disability coverage. Each plan is different, so consulting with a plaintiff’s attorney before purchasing or applying to a plan can help avoid problems with inadequate or denied coverage when a disability occurs.


Conditions That Qualify for Disability Benefits


Workers’ comp is limited to injuries, deaths, or illnesses that happen while the victim is working. Ohio will recognize nearly any physical injury that is documented by medical records and accident reports, but state statutes include a list of occupational diseases linked to exposures to toxic substances. Other illnesses can qualify a person for workers’ compensation benefits, but working with a disability attorney while applying for an unlisted disease can make sense.


SSDI is available for almost any physical or mental problem, but, again, extensive medical documentation is required as part of the application. OPERS and similar public-sector plans cover most conditions but proving that a return to full-time work is generally required. Last, as noted above, each private disability insurance plan will have its own list of conditions that qualify a policyholder for benefits.


Who Can Receive Disability Benefits Payments


Generally, the person who got hurt or fell ill will receive workers’ comp benefits. Death benefits and long-term benefits from workers’ compensation can go to a spouse or other designated family member when it can be shown that the person named in the application cannot conduct financial transactions.


SSDI and SSI payments can go to the parents of a disabled child or a bonded caregiver who may or may not be an employee of a long-term care facility. Serious criminal penalties are imposed on people who use federal disability payments for any reason other than the care of the disabled person.


Public employee and private insurance disability payment programs operate similarly to Ohio Workers’ Compensation. It is very important to state who will accept payments when applying for disability benefits.


Who Can Help File Applications for Disability Benefits


Applicants for disability benefits can accept assistance from application specialists and lawyers. Under the law, access to expert advice and guidance cannot be denied to any person applying for government benefits like workers’ comp and SSDI/SSI. Consumer protection laws also extend to people in Ohio who apply for disability benefits through a program like OPERS or a private insurance plan.

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