It can take months, if not a year or more, for maritime workers to start receiving payments after filing a claim for an injury at work, especially if the employer disputes the claim.
While maintenance and cure should be available regardless of fault, maintenance payments are generally very low and not adequate to provide for a family. Many families do not have the resources available to make ends meet if the claim drags on or the employer does not want to pay for damages.
If your husband is unable to work because of an injury, and your husband’s employer is fighting his claim for benefits, you may be able to take advantage of several federal government programs to assist your family financially while you wait.
Your husband may be able to ask for, and receive, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits provided he meets the qualifications. If he is completely unable to work, and will not be able to return to work for at least a year, he could be entitled to SSDI benefit payments.
Your husband must also have earned enough work credits – that is, worked enough over the course of his career – to qualify for SSDI.
Families with low income may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This is a needs-based program for disabled individuals, so your husband may not need to meet work credit requirements, but instead income and resources requirements to qualify.
Of course, Social Security disability benefits may be reduced accordingly if your husband is receiving:
If your husband is the only source of income in the household and your family has limited financial resources, you may apply for federal government assistance programs like:
If you qualify for SSI – as noted above – you may automatically qualify for Medicaid. Further, if your husband receives SSDI for two years, he will also qualify for Medicare.
While these programs and resources can help you make ends meet while awaiting a settlement, having a lawyer on your side when filing the claim and pursuing a fair settlement can also be helpful. If you need assistance filing an offshore injury claim under general maritime law, the Jones Act, or the LHWCA after your husband’s work injury, contact The Young Firm. Call (866) 703-2590 FREE to speak with an attorney and set up your free initial consultation.