Do Car Accident Injuries Qualify for SSD?

In the moments after a car accident, as the screeching stops, the smoke clears, and the airbags begin to deflate, many car accident victims likely look around, realize that they are still alive, and feel a deep sense of relief. But just because someone survives a car accident does not mean their troubles are entirely over. Even if a car accident does not cause fatal injuries, many victims still suffer from injuries like:

  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Back and neck pain, like whiplash
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Emotional distress, including anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eye injuries

Some of these injuries are minor and will heal on their own with minimal treatment. Other injuries, however, can impact every aspect of a person’s life. A back injury, for example, could prevent someone from returning to their job at a construction site.

When a car accident injury prevents someone from returning to work, are they eligible for Social Security Disability benefits?

SSD for Car Accident Injuries

Social Security Disability (SSD) is a program that provides benefits to people who are unable to work. To qualify for SSD, applicants must have a health condition or injury that

  • has lasted at least 12 months
  • is expected to last for at least 12 month
  • is expected to end in death

Additionally, applicants must be unable to do any kind of work. This means that if someone cannot lift heavy materials but can still comfortably work as a receptionist, they will likely not qualify.

SSD Qualifications

Due to these two main qualifications for SSD, it can be tricky for car accident victims to qualify. Many injuries after a car accident, though painful, are temporary and will not last for a full 12 months. This means that even if someone cannot work for a few months, they will likely not qualify. On the other hand, if an applicant has a TBI that severely impairs their ability to think or concentrate, they might qualify for SSD, as their condition will last for a longer period of time.

The next issue is that a car accident injury might not prevent someone from doing any kind of work. While an injury might affect someone’s ability to do the job they were doing before the accident, they will likely not qualify if they can do another kind of work. For example, if whiplash prevents someone from returning to work as a bus driver, the Social Security Administration might find that they could still do other work, like answering calls at a desk.

Get Help With Applying for SSD After a Car Accident

Due to these qualifications, only very serious car accident injuries, like TBIs or paralysis, are likely to qualify for SSD. For people with non-qualifying injuries, this can be very frustrating, especially if their injury prevents them from working. When someone knows that their injury is severe, it can be challenging to hear that the Social Security Administration think it’s not severe enough.

If you are suffering after a car accident and want to apply for SSD, talking to an attorney is a great idea. An experienced SSD attorney will know the nuances of SSD law and can help you figure how the best way to proceed.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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