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Social Security Disability for broken ankle and mental illness? New Jersey

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  • Social Security Disability for broken ankle and mental illness? New Jersey

    I severely broke my ankle at home in January after only three months at my current job. Right now I am on state short term disability. However, there is a chance that I will not be healed enough to resume my position as outlined in my job description and contract. Could I qualify for SSDI because of this? I may never or it may take over a year to be able to perform the activities of my job.(I am a preK teacher) Also, I have bipolar disorder for which I have had previous hospitalizations and lost jobs from, etc and my current situation is making that worse. I am decompensating. So between these two issues, would even have achance at qualifying? With my doctors backing up??

  • #2
    SSDI is for a disability that will last over 12 months, and I think it's for 100% disability. If your doctor thinks you won't be back within a year you should apply. BUT, it's very hard to get, especially if you're combining two problems to add up to 100%. You need lots of good documentation on treatment to support your claim.

    Since you've been hospitalized before, that's good info for them, but make sure you're getting treatment for the bi-polar now, and that they're documenting that combined with the ankle injury, it's worse than it was.

    To apply, there are several books out there that help you make sure your file is complete so you don't get turned down the first, second or third time you apply. Look for them at your local book store or online.
    I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

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    • #3
      I can't imagine that a broken ankle would keep you from teaching, even at the Pre-K level. I've had Pre-K teachers who were in wheelchairs and they managed beautifully. You might need to modify how you do a few things while you heal, but there shouldn't be a reason you could not ever return to the classroom or even that you would need to wait until you completely healed to return. Talk to your doctor and employer about how this might be accommodated. I think you are worrying prematurely and that isn't going to make your recovery and eventual return any easier.

      The mental health is another issue all together. A history of mental health issues isn't going to be as relevant as current ones. Mental health treatments have also come a very long way and your mental state can change drastically based on what is going on in your life so it can be extra difficult to qualify as "permanently" disabled. If that isn't the reason you are not working, I would not expect benefits to be granted on that basis. Just having a mental health diagnosis isn't enough to gain benefits. That mental health condition must be so disabling that you can not perform any work for which you are qualified.

      If you are not already getting treatment, please do. Any injury and period off work can be stressful and so whatever treatment regimine you were on, will need to be adjusted to compensate for this new situation.
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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