What Are My Options If I Can’t Work for a Year?

Social Security disability

What are your options if you can’t work for a year–or maybe even longer? Whether due to accident, injury, or illness, the inability to work negatively impacts your financial security and your confidence.

When you’re not able to work, and you’re worried about your options and your well-being, a disability attorney should be your first call. Make an appointment with us at DiBiaggio Law: we can help you.

For many of us, work has always been part of our daily routine. It gives us purpose as well as a paycheck. It provides a way for us to secure the things we need and want, whether that means a stable roof over our heads, food, clothing—or those more pleasurable items like entertainment events or a weekend getaway.

Although the ADA provides some protection of your job, with reasonable accommodations, you may need more than that. If you can no longer perform your job duties, you may not be able to return to that job. Your employer cannot hold your position forever, and you still need to make an income. 

So Many Questions! Answers Social Security disability?

When you realize you are not able to work, a whole host of worries and questions start swimming around in your head. Sure, maybe you can tap into your savings. But what if you don’t have any savings? What happens when that nest egg runs out? Should you take out a loan? What if you can’t? If you can’t work, how can you possibly repay a loan? Are you going to lose your house and everything you’ve worked so hard for all these years to attain? These are painful questions.

Laws and regulations can be complicated, and many of us may not even know what to ask. For this reason, one of your first steps should be contacting an attorney who is deeply familiar with disability laws.

Deirdre DiBiaggio is an experienced disability lawyer with the knowledge, compassion, and dedication to make sure you get the results you deserve. She serves West Palm Beach, Miami, and all of Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. You can trust her to help you get your life back on track.

Your disability is serious business. You can be confident that DiBiaggio Law will deal with your questions and your claim in a caring, thorough, professional manner. 

Could Disability Insurance Be an Option?

Some people are fortunate enough to have disability insurance through an employer’s policy or supplemental policy. If you own your own business, you may have had the foresight to purchase disability insurance.

If you do have disability insurance, it will help provide some financial benefits if you can’t work. It’s important to know that disability insurance falls into two categories: short-term disability and long-term disability.

Short Term disability insurance will replace part of your income if you are unable to work for a short time—typically anywhere between three and six months. This insurance can give you some financial peace of mind while you visit doctors to assess your physical condition and consult a disability attorney to discuss your options.

Long Term disability insurance, on the other hand, covers you if you are going to be out of work for years. The problem is that long-term disability insurance often fails to provide enough of a financial benefit. Plus, it can be cost-prohibitive, so many employers don’t carry it.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your Short Term Disability policy or Long Term Disability policy, please contact DiBiaggio Law at 561-473-9800  or toll-free at 844-443-1212. If you don’t have disability insurance—or it doesn’t provide sufficient money to cover the needs of you and your family—what’s next?

Could I Be Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Social Security disability benefits may be an option if you are not able to work in the long term.

Let’s say you are unable to work due to your disability, and you’re concerned about your well-being. If you usually provide for a spouse and other family members, your stress may be through the roof. How will you make sure you and your loved ones earn an income to meet your basic needs?

You may be able to receive benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The federal agency provides some income for those unable to work for an extended period due to a disability.

The SSA has relatively rigid requirements. Before you reach out to your local Social Security office or start an online application for disability benefits, take a look at this checklist to find out in advance if you may qualify.

  1. Are you currently employed?

If you are holding down a job that allows you to support yourself and/or a family, you will not be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. According to the SSA, if you make more than $1,260 each month, you are not a candidate for benefits.

As long as you are currently able to work earning more than $1260 per month, the SSA will not consider you disabled.

Even though you may not be out of work at the moment because of your disability, the SSA states that you must have been employed for five of the past ten years to be eligible for benefits to be entitled to Title II disability benefits. However, if you have not been employed consistently in the last ten years, you may qualify for Title XVI/SSI disability benefits. Please call DiBiaggio Law to see whether you qualify for either Title II or Title XVI Social Security Disability benefits or both.

  1. Are you unable to perform your regular duties at work?

If your health issue is serious enough to interfere with your regular work activities, your condition is considered severe. The SSA may consider you disabled if you cannot work at all or if you cannot perform the duties you were able to handle before your accident, injury, or illness.

  1. Does the Social Security Administration recognize your condition?

The Social Security Administration retains a list detailing “for each major body system, impairments considered severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any gainful activity.” 

If your medical issue appears on this list and you meet the SSA standards for the condition, you may qualify for benefits. You may, however, need documentation from your physician.

In rare situations, a condition falls under what the SSA calls a compassionate allowance, which means that they will process your benefits quickly.

SSA may also consider you for a medical-vocational allowance. This means that even though your condition doesn’t fall under their listings, they deem you unable to work due to severe limitations.

  1. Can you perform your job OR another job?

You may have already realized that your illness or injury is so severe that you can’t adequately perform the duties of your job. The Social Security Administration will want to know whether there are any other jobs in the national economy that you CAN perform.

The SSA will take many items under consideration, including your age, your level of education, and your past job experience and the skills that you possess. If the SSA determines that, despite your condition, you can hold another type of job, they may deny your application for disability benefits. At DiBiaggio Law, we challenge the SSA on all aspects of your case, including, whether you can perform any other work in the national economy.  

What Should You Do Next if You Can’t Work for a Year or More?

After reviewing these questions about Social Security Disability criteria and qualifications, you may be feeling overwhelmed. That’s completely understandable. You’ve been through a significant life event. You’re scared and not sure where to turn next

A Disability Attorney is Your Best Option

If your head is spinning at the mere thought of applying for Social Security Disability, or if you’ve applied and the SSA denied your claim, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney that focuses on Social Security Disability. At DiBiaggio Law, this is one of our practice areas.

Due to the complexity of the application for Social Security Disability benefits, you will need an attorney with an in-depth knowledge of disability issues to help you file it. Although all of the items related to filing for disability are brand new to you, they’re a daily part of our job, and we know all the ins and outs.

Since you can’t work, you may be concerned about how you can afford to hire a disability lawyer. You may also be wondering what a social security disability attorney can do for you that you can’t do on your own. Please read on.

We can conduct a thorough review of your case

At DiBiaggio Law, we will review all elements of your case. Our team will examine your before-and-after medical records. Using our expertise, we will come up with a plan of action that gives you the best chance of being approved for benefits.

We will help file your disability application

At DiBiaggio Law, we will help gather all relevant materials you need for your Social Security disability application. We will also make sure your application is complete to prevent any processing delays. 

We will keep up with key communications

The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits and getting them approved is lengthy and detailed. Our team at DiBiaggio Law will help keep track of filing deadlines and make sure to handle any necessary follow-up in a timely fashion. We will act as a go-between on all communication between you and the Social Security Administration. 

We will file an appeal on your behalf

The Social Security Administration denies more than half of all Social Security disability claims when first submitted. If this happens, we will help you through the appeal process, step by step. Our team will also make sure to file your appeal in a timely fashion.

Your attorney, Deirdre DiBiaggio, will also be by your side to help put your mind at ease during any disability hearings. Your disability attorney can question witnesses and prepare you for any questions at the hearing. Our goal is to win your disability case.

Your best option: DiBiaggio Law 

If you’re looking for a skilled disability lawyer in South Florida, call the DiBiaggio Law team at 561-473-9800 or toll-free at 1-844-443-1212 today to schedule your free consultation.

Based in Miami and  West Palm Beach, DiBiaggio Law serves the entire South Florida region including Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and everywhere in between, from Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. We’ll consult with you, discuss your case, and give you the personal attention you need from a disability attorney.

Copyright © 2020. DiBiaggio Law. All rights reserved.


DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.


DiBiaggio Law
605 Belvedere Road, Suite 17
West Palm Beach, FL 33405
(561) 473-9800




Deirdre DiBiaggio

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