Disability in New Mexico

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New Mexico has two different disability benefit plans for those with disabilities.  To be eligible for either, a person must meet specific guidelines.  First, their term of employment must have been at least six months, and they must be an employee of a company, not an independent contractor.  Your disability must be medically determined to last for at least a period of a year.  This determination must come from a physician and must be backed up with medical documentation.

Short Term Disability

To qualify for short term disability, you must show that you cannot do any work in any field due to your disability, and this disability may not be related to any injury or illness occurred while on the job (meaning no worker’s compensation incidents are eligible).  Once you are on short term disability, you will be required to provide medical updates to the state every three months to prove that you are still disabled.  Any change in your condition will require you to re-file for short term disability.  The first 24 weeks of short term disability pay out 60 per cent of your maximum income up to $500 a week.  Following that, you may be eligible for long term disability benefits.

Long Term Disability

Once your 24 week short term disability period has ended, you may qualify for long term disability if you are still disabled.  Again, no worker’s compensation claims are eligible for long term disability.  If approved, you’ll receive 40 per cent of your monthly wages up to $2,000 a month, although that amount may be reduced if you have other sources of income.  Once again, you may be required to provide medical updates every three months or more, plus submit to any additional medical exams.

Note that you are not allowed to perform any work, no matter what type or in what capacity, while you are receiving short term or long term disability.  An individual with a disability in New Mexico will lose their disability funds if they are found working in any position that pays them a wage of any kind.

Schooling

However, if you are on long term disability, New Mexico will allow you to return to school if you decide to.  You must show that the program you are entering will provide you new skills that will allow you to be able to work.  While you are in school, you will still receive your disability benefits.  You must provide your grades and other information, and eligibility is up to your benefits administrator.

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