I developed degenerative disease in my basil thumb joints in the years following 2010. In 2016, I was moved from my previous position to a new location due to needing some ADA accommodations from a head injury that occur before I was employed at the facility and also to relieve some of the pain I was having in my hands at work. Both myself and my union rep understood this to be a permanent move and job change, but the real "job" never really came about. In 2017 I had a trapeziectomy and ligament relocation done on my left thumb (CMC joint) . After this, I applied for workman's compensation, believing that it would likely be denied, although my non-workman's compensation physicians told me that my joint issues were likely work related. I was sent to a QME doctor and subsequently, sometime in 2018, my case was approved for workman's compensation. ( I am told this rarely happens for basilar thumb joint disease - except that I had some newly published information from the CDC and Canada which may have swayed the decision. There are a number of issues with the worker's compensation case that have yet to be resolved. But I have read that they have to set up a fund to pay for future care and surgeries because Medicare and private health insurance will not cover this. I am also concerned about not being able to work now that the QME doctor has written restrictions on the use of my hands, gripping, pinching and keyboarding. I have had 2 interactive meetings with personeel and risk management and they are telling e that it is unlikely that they will find alternative work for me considering my restrictions. I told them that I had no plan to retire early and certainly would not retire at least until after age 62. (about 11 months). Now my biggest concern is that - if they cannot find work for me, or simply "allow" me to do "something" for 11 months, then impose retirement on me because they cannot find something for me to do, can I then apply for SSDI, and how do I go about doing that? If they cannot round up some work for me with the restrictions on my hands, it is unlikely that I will be able to acquire any other gainful employment. (I am a health care professional and the "essential functions" of my position require repetitively working with my hands.) Plus I have some issues from the head injury. I can retire and take a reduced pension, but I would rather not do that. And I would absolutely not want to take SSI early either. I have many relatives in my family who have lived to 90 to 95 years of age. (I am married but my husband lives in a separate condominium from me and my disabled adult daughter - if that matters any)
I'm sorry to hear about your injuries. Yes, you can apply for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits either online at ssa.gov (https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/), or you can contact Social Security and apply by phone or in-person. If you're claim is approved you would then be paid an SSDI rate equivalent to your full unreduced Social Security retirement benefit rate. However, if you're still drawing worker's compensation benefits and you also qualify for SSDI benefits, one or the other benefit could potentially be offset at least in part depending on a number of different factors. Still, though, it would likely be advantageous to apply for SSDI benefits if you could qualify for them (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10029.pdf).