Workers’ compensation benefits can help you make ends meet while you wait for the SSA to determine whether you qualify for disability benefits.
However, it is important to note that what you receive in workers’ compensation benefits can reduce your Social Security Disability benefits. This is because there are limits to how much you can collect from the two systems.
In general, the total amount of benefits cannot be more than 80% of your average earnings. If benefits exceed this level, the SSA may adjust the amount based on how much you receive from workers’ compensation. If your workers’ compensation benefits run out, your benefits will increase back to the normal payment amount.
While this rule applies to workers’ compensation programs, there are other benefits you may receive that will not affect your disability benefits. These include:
- Privately funded pension and insurance benefits
- VA benefits
How to Get Benefits
Social Security Benefits
There are two different benefits programs available through the SSA.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is insurance that you pay into. In addition to meeting medical requirements, there are requirements as to how long and frequently you have worked.
While there are adjustments for workers who become disabled at a young age, to qualify for SSDI, you generally must have earned 40 credits, half in the last 10 years, or worked full-time for the equivalent of five years in the last 10 years.
If you have enough work credits, your case will be evaluated by the SSA, using the Blue Book. This is a medical guide that lists conditions and medical criteria to determine if you qualify for disability benefits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides benefits to aged, blind, or disabled people with low income and few assets. In addition to establishing that you are aged, blind, or disabled, you must prove that you meet the income and assets threshold.
If you are injured on the job, there are certain procedures you must follow to collect workers’ compensation. The first thing you must do is report what happened to your employer or supervisor. Then there will be claims forms you must fill out and documentation you must provide that are based on your company’s policy and the laws in your individual state.
Differences Between Workers’ Compensation and Disability
While both workers’ compensation and disability are insurance programs that provide compensation if workers become disabled and are unable to work, there are major differences.
Workers’ compensation programs are run by each state, not the federal government. Employers pay premiums to their insurance providers and are not allowed to charge employees for benefits. You may receive workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured or become ill from a work-related activity.
Each state has its own rules for workers’ compensation:
- Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ Compensation requires any business with three or more workers to have workers‘ compensation insurance.
- Per S.C. Code Ann. § 42-1-150, businesses with four full or part-time employees or more must carry workers‘ compensation insurance.
In general, workers’ compensation is designed to be temporary. Receiving workers’ compensation allows employees who have been hurt on the job to have income while they heal from their injuries or wait for acceptance for SSDI or SSI benefits.
Depending on the circumstances, once they start receiving SSDI, injured workers may still continue to collect workers’ compensation, although benefits may be reduced.
Social Security Disability
SSDI and SSI are federal programs run by the SSA. There are qualifications you must meet in order to receive benefits. The qualifications differ between SSDI and SSI. These qualifications are much stricter than those for workers’ compensation.
Get Help Receiving Disability
Both Social Security Disability and workers’ compensation are insurance programs, and they both may put up obstacles to receiving benefits.
It may help to get assistance from a disability attorney who knows how both systems work. An attorney on your side can help by making sure your claims are filed correctly and promptly, that evidence is provided to back your claim, and that any denials are appealed.
At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we offer a free consultation to evaluate your case and show you how we can help you fight for the benefits you deserve. Call us today or fill out our online form to get started.