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One common misconception that many clients in Georgia hold is that filing for disability benefits, either SSDI or SSI, means they cannot pursue a civil lawsuit. At Wetherington Law Firm, we want to clarify this misconception and explain how these two legal avenues can often coexist.
Wetherington Law’s Focus on Personal Injury Claims
At Wetherington Law Firm, our primary focus is on civil litigation. This area of law is crucial for those who have suffered injuries due to the negligence or intentional actions of others. It’s important for our clients to understand that while we are deeply committed to seeking justice in civil lawsuits, we do not directly handle disability claims. Our expertise lies in addressing cases where a client’s injury is the result of someone else’s wrongdoing, ensuring that they receive the compensation they rightfully deserve.
For many of our clients, a disability claim is an ongoing process alongside their civil lawsuit. If you have a disability claim and are interested in learning more about how we can help, call or send us a message. These two legal actions can actually work together in a complementary manner. Filing for disability benefits, such as SSDI or SSI, doesn’t stop you from pursuing additional compensation through a civil lawsuit. In fact, the compensation gained from a civil lawsuit can cover aspects not typically included in disability benefits. This can include pain and suffering, punitive damages, and a more comprehensive coverage of lost wages and potential future earnings, which are crucial for a complete financial recovery.
SSDI vs SSI
The Social Security Administration (SSA) in the United States administers two major programs that provide financial assistance to people with disabilities: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both are designed to help individuals who are unable to work due to a disability, but they have different eligibility requirements and benefits.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI):
- Purpose: SSDI provides financial assistance to people who are disabled and have a qualifying work history, meaning they have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.
- Eligibility: To be eligible for SSDI, you must have a medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition of disability and have earned enough “work credits.” Work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income, and you can earn up to four credits each year.
- Benefits: The amount of SSDI benefits you receive is based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. Unlike SSI, it’s not based on your current income or assets.
- Family Benefits: In some cases, other family members, like your spouse or children, can also receive benefits based on your eligibility.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
- Purpose: SSI provides financial assistance to people with disabilities (or who are elderly) who have little to no income and assets. It’s meant to help cover basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter.
- Eligibility: To qualify for SSI, you must have a disability, limited income, and limited resources (things you own). It’s important to note that SSI is not based on your work history.
- Benefits: The amount of SSI benefits is based on the federal benefit rate, which may be supplemented by the state in which you live. The exact amount can vary depending on your living situation and income.
- Work History: SSDI requires a work history with enough work credits, while SSI does not.
- Income and Assets: SSDI benefits are based on your earnings record, not your current income or assets. SSI, however, is need-based and considers your current financial situation.
Disability Claims as Part of a Civil Case in Georgia
For many of our clients, a disability claim is an ongoing process alongside their civil lawsuit. These two legal actions can actually work together in a complementary manner. Filing for disability benefits, such as SSDI or SSI, doesn’t stop you from pursuing additional compensation through a civil lawsuit. In fact, the compensation gained from a civil lawsuit can cover aspects not typically included in disability benefits. This can include pain and suffering, punitive damages, and a more comprehensive coverage of lost wages and potential future earnings, which are crucial for a complete financial recovery.
How Wetherington Law Can Help
At Wetherington Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping our clients understand the differences and connections between disability claims and civil lawsuits. Our goal is to ensure that every client receives the fullest range of compensation possible. When our clients have valid disability claims, we don’t leave them to navigate these waters alone. Instead, we refer them to trusted and experienced disability lawyers in Georgia. This ensures that they receive specialized advice and representation for their disability claims, while we focus on the civil lawsuit aspect.