How Workers’ Compensation Benefits Affect Your Social Security Disability Benefits

social security payments money

Can I receive workers’ comp as well as social security disability benefits?

If you qualify for workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, then yes, you can receive both.

SSDI administers a federal program managed through the Social Security Administration (SSA), and individual states administer workers comp programs. Receiving Workers’ Compensation has no impact on whether your SSDI claim is accepted and does not disqualify you from Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Who qualifies for SSDI?

If you have been injured on the job or have an occupational illness and are unable to work, you may be entitled to SSDI benefits.

To meet the qualification and be approved for SSDI, you must be disabled from working for at least 12 months or suffering a terminal occupational-related illness. The SSA does not award partial disability.

Workers’ Comp and SSDI

Workers Compensation qualifications are very different than those used by SSA to determine whether you qualify to receive Social Security Disability benefits. You may be eligible for one or both.

Each state manages its own Workers’ Compensation program. On-the-job injuries typically, you may qualify for Workers’ Comp. Consult your Human Resources to file the First Report of Injury and learn about your benefits.

Workers’ comp is designed to be a temporary benefit; it supplies injured employees with partial income while they recuperate or await acceptance for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Disability Benefits

The Blue Book is the medical guide the SSA uses to determine if you qualify for SSDI—there are medical criteria and conditions that a claim must meet to be eligible for benefits.

Before you file a claim, make a detailed list of all your medical providers and their contact information so that SSA can request your records. The more information they can collect for review and consideration, the better your chances of getting your claim approved.

SSDI – Understanding the Work Credits System

When filing for disability, specific criteria must be met to be covered by the program:

  • You must have worked the equivalent of 5 years full-time out of the last 10 years,
  • For SSDI, you must have acquired 40 credits to be eligible
  • 20 of those credits must have been acquired during the previous 10 years, ending in the year you became disabled
  • For younger workers, fewer credits may be required.

Work credits are calculated on your total yearly income. You can earn up to four credits per year; as of 2020, you receive a credit for every $1,410 in income reported. Once you have made $5,640 for the year, you have received your maximum credits as well.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Employers carry workers’ comp insurance policies to protect their workers and themselves against workplace accidents or an occupational-related illness.

If you are injured on the job, and followed all the protocols for reporting and filing, if the condition leaves you permanently disabled, you may qualify for a workers’ compensation settlement to cover your future lost earnings. Navigating the complexities of receiving this compensation will require the skills of an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney.

When you need legal representation, the attorneys at Patterson Dahlberg, Personal Injury Lawyers, have the skill and experience you can depend on–we provide expert counsel to assure ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the maximum settlement owed to you.

The Caveat

There is only one caveat to receiving both Workers’ Compensation and SSDI benefits at the same time:

  • The total combined income you receive from SSDI and Workers’ Compensation cannot exceed 80% off your previous income – the SSA will adjust. There is no limitation on private disability insurance benefits—they do not affect either of these benefits.
  • If the Worker’s Comp benefits run out while you are on SSDI, contact the SSA so they can adjust your benefit payments accordingly.

Qualifying for Disability

Qualifying for disability through Workers Compensation and SSDI are significantly different.

  • For Workers Compensation purposes:
    • If you can no longer perform the job you were doing before becoming injured, you would be considered disabled.
  • For Social Security Administration purposes:
    • To qualify as totally disabled, you must show that you are unable to perform any work you have ever performed for any employer.
    • Additionally, you must demonstrate that you are unable to perform any meaningful work in any field in which you could reasonably be trained AND
    • Your disabling condition is expected to last over a year or will result in your death.

Since it can take months for your disability benefits to get approved, getting your disability claim underway as quickly as possible is essential. Your Workers’ Comp claim and settlement will not impact your ability to file a disability claim in any way.

Why You Need an Attorney

Individuals represented by an attorney are more successful in being awarded SSDI benefits.

If you plan on receiving SSDI and Workers Comp, you would be well advised to seek the advice of Patterson Dahlberg, Personal Injury LawyersThey will not only advise you on when to apply for each benefit, but they will also structure your claims and your appeals for both programs in a manner that will most likely be accepted. Our attorneys are highly skilled in personal injury law, disability law, and navigating the SSA and WC systems. They will help you get the benefits and settlements you deserve.

Oftentimes, worker’s comp cases are settled before they get to court. Claimants give up monthly benefits in exchange for a lump-sum settlement. Social Security will then adjust SSDI benefits to account for the lump sum payment.

Here again, the laws are particular and often difficult to understand. Worker’s comp attorneys can draw up settlement agreements to minimize SSDI offsets. Social Security considers the verbiage of the documents and decides how much of the settlement is subject to offset.

For example, lawyers draft the agreement to exclude medical and legal expenses from the lump sum. Social Security will eliminate these expenses if the language in the document is clear.

Patterson Dahlberg’s experience regarding the rules affecting what issues can be settled and what language needs to be in a settlement agreement is prodigious.

The attorneys at Patterson Dahlberg can help you resolve your worker’s comp and SSDI cases that maximize your benefits. Contact the offices of Patterson Dahlberg today for a free consultation and let us go to work for you.