Are Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance the Same Thing?

Workers compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are both programs set up to help injured workers provide for their families, but there are several differences:  

* First, workers compensation is run by the state while SSDI is a federal program run by the Social Security Administration.

* Second, workers compensation requires you to be injured while performing work related duties, but this is not a requirement for SSDI.

* Third, the severity of your injury must be much higher to qualify for SSDI. You generally can qualify for workers comp if you are unable to perform your job duties, even temporarily. To qualify for SSDI, you must prove you are totally disabled and unable to perform job duties in any reasonable field on a long term basis.

* Fourth, workers comp is designed to be a temporary program, while SSDI is designed to be long term.

  You are able to receive benefits from both programs if you qualify for both. Your acceptance to one program will not at all affect your acceptance to the other. However, if you do qualify for both, you often will not receive benefits from both in the same time period; Usually SSDI will not start until workers compensation benefits end. If you do receive both in the same time period, your SSDI benefits will  be reduced depending on the amount of workers comp you receive.   Total benefits cannot exceed 80 percent of your pre-disability income. For example, you earned $4,000 a month before your disability and you have been awarded $2,000 a month from workers comp. SSDI may award you $1,200 a month which would bring you to a total of $3,200 (80 percent of your original earnings). However, if you receive $3,000 from workers comp, SSDI will award you a much smaller amount. But after workers compensation runs out, your SSDI benefits will increase. Note that SSDI benefits will not be affected by any private insurance or pension plans.   lower back painIf you have a severe and long term disability, it’s worth it to apply for social security disability benefits in addition to workers comp. Applying for these programs is a complicated process and a lawyer skilled in both areas can help. It’s important that this be a local lawyer, because lawyers outside your state will likely not be familiar with the workers comp laws that apply to you. Your attorney can advise you on the best way to proceed, file claims and appeals, put together a quality case in court, and increase your chances of receiving a fair settlement.

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