After a traumatic brain injury a person often spends weeks or months in hospitals that are often hundreds of miles from their homes. Both patients and their loved ones are unable to work. The Family Medical Leave Act will allow people who qualify to take up to 12 weeks off of work while maintaining benefits and protecting their job, however, the Act does not require that the employer provide compensation for the 12 weeks of leave. If FMLA is something you are interested in pursuing, contact your (and/or your loved one’s) human resources department for FMLA paperwork. The paperwork requires a range of information including a medical form that needs to be completed by the physician working with your loved one. FMLA paperwork must be renewed every few weeks (please see your specific paperwork to see when the paperwork needs to be renewed). A hospital social worker will be able to help with any FLMA paperwork.
Because people cannot work while they are in the hospital often people face financial hardship. It is not uncommon for friends and family to offer to help with fundraisers and other forms of crowdfunding. You’ve likely heard of crowd-funding sites including GoFundMe, YouCaring, and/or HelpHopeLive. All of the crowd-funding sites have pros and cons to using them. Research is critically important to know which one is the best for you. Some of the sites are set up as income sources, meaning that you have to claim them on your taxes. If you have minimal insurance and you need to apply for Medicaid, some crowd funding accounts are considered assets.
With all of the resources available, you will need to determine which is the best fit for your needs. Utilizing the assistance of your family, friends and medical professionals can allow you to move on to the next steps of this process.
*Tip* If it is believed that the injured person may not be able to work for over 6 months, they may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. To find out if they qualify and to apply please visit SSA.gov. You can also go to your local social security office to inquire about benefits.