If you have been seriously injured in a car accident causing you to lose a lot of time at work, you are entitled to disability payments from both No-Fault insurance and from New York State. However, No-Fault disability payments don’t last long because the cost of medical bills can use up most of the money that could have been used for your disability payments and they can be stopped if the No-Fault doctor states that you are no longer disabled from working (they almost always say that).
When serious injuries will keep you out of work for 12 months or more, you can apply for Social Security disability benefits. You must be out of work for at least 12 months to obtain Social Security disability benefits. It takes six months to process your application for Social Security benefits so, if you’re still disabled, you should apply at least six months after your accident.
If you know that you will undergo extensive surgery, such as back surgery/spine surgery, you could apply for Social Security disability benefits prior to your surgery. This will let you get it out of the way early, so you don’t have to worry about it while you’re recuperating. If you return to work before the end of 12 months after your disability, it won’t matter that you already applied. You just won’t be entitled to Social Security Disability.