If you’ve experienced a serious injury on the job and have been receiving worker’s compensation benefits for a while, you may be wondering if you qualify for Social Security disability payments too. The two programs are separate and have separate eligibility requirements, meaning often you may qualify for one but not the other.
However, in some cases, you may qualify for both worker’s compensation benefits and Social Security disability. If that’s the case, you can’t receive more than 80% of your prior income. Also, private disability insurance or any pension funds do not disqualify you from receiving Social Security disability.
Worker’s compensation claims
The main difference between worker’s compensation and Social Security disability is that generally employees receiving worker’s compensation are unable to work temporarily. They have injuries doctors expect them to recover from and they will eventually return to work. Someone who qualifies for worker’s compensation only must have an injury that prevents them from performing the job they were doing when they injured themselves—not any other job an employer might have.
Social Security disability claims
On the other hand, workers who qualify for Social Security disability are disabled permanently or are suffering from a serious illness that will sideline them from work for a year. They often cannot perform any job for a former employer. So, if an employee worked at a warehouse and has a permanently injured back, those injuries also prevent the employee from taking a desk job too. Also, your disability must prevent you from performing work in any field you reasonably could receive training for.
Often, disabilities that receive Social Security benefits are medical conditions where death is a real possibility, such as deadly cancers, chronic heart failure or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
When you have an injury or have a permanent disability, it can be stressful to be out of work while medical bills pile up. Consult an experienced personal injury attorney when you exhaust worker’s compensation benefits or want to apply for Social Security disability. An attorney can help you make sure all your paperwork is completed properly and you have all the necessary proof you need to get your claim eventually approved and processed quickly.