Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, “I was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) about six months ago. I was charged with a felony DUI. I had to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance because I was win injured at the time of my DUI arrest. I just received my SSDI denial notice for my DUI injury. I have worked and paid taxes for twenty-five years. I do understand why the SSA would deny my claim if I am insured for SSDI benefits?”
Getting SSDI benefits for a DUI injury
Claimants may qualify for SSDI benefits if they have a severe mental or physical health condition which does not allow them to work for at least 12 continuous months. To qualify for SSDI, however, claimants must meet specific medical and nonmedical benefits. For example, claimants must have sufficient work credits, they must have a severe injury lasting 12 continuous months, and they cannot currently be working and earning too much money.
Now, you specifically asked about a DUI injury sustained in a DUI accident. Unfortunately, if you have been convicted of a felony and your DUI injury was sustained while committing the felony, you may also be denied benefits for your DUI injury.
How can the SSA deny benefits for my DUI injury?
Your denial is supported by what the Social Security Administration refers to as the Felony Impairment Rule. Specific details about this rule can be found under Title II Regulations, 20 C.F.R. 404.1506, Subsection (a), limitations resulting from the commission of a felony must be excluded from consideration of disability under the Act:
“(a) Permanent exclusion of felony-related impairment. In determining whether you are under a disability, we will not consider any physical or mental impairment, or any increase in severity (aggravation) of a preexisting impairment, which arises in connection with your commission of a felony after October 19, 1980, if you are subsequently convicted of this crime. Your subsequent conviction will invalidate any prior determination establishing disability if that determination was based upon any impairment, or aggravation, which we must exclude under this rule.”
Note: A DUI injury may have been eligible for SSDI benefits if you had not been convicted of a felony. For example, you might be eligible for SSDI benefits if you were only convicted of a misdemeanor (as long as you were not in jail or in prison).
What are my options for my DUI injury?
Individuals who are injured in a DUI accident have several options. Assuming they were not responsible for the accident but were injured by another driver, they could apply for SSDI benefits, or in some states, they could file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for their loss.
Because you were the offender, however, your options are limited. As mentioned above, you will not qualify for SSDI benefits. You also will not be able to file a personal injury claim against another driver.
Unfortunately, the options which remain for you are limited to paying for your own medical care out of pocket or filing a claim with your own medical insurance company.
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