If you have been injured or become ill while working, you likely want to collect all benefits available. Naturally, being unable to work can cause serious financial issues, so you may be wondering if you can collect both workers' comp and Social Security Disability at the same time. The short and quick answer is "yes", but read on for important limits and guidelines to ensure that you get the full amount of benefits to which you are entitled.
Social Security Disability (SSDI)
To collect monthly monetary payments from SSDI, you must have worked enough to have contributed to the system. The amounts and time required vary depending on your age. You can be qualified to collect SSDI even if your illness or injury had absolutely no connection to your job, but you must be able to prove that your impairment makes you unable to work. There is a five-month waiting period from the time you had to leave your job before you are able to collect any benefits. Social Security is a federally-run program.
Workers' comp benefits have no requirement of time or money earned; you are eligible for benefits from the very first day of work. However, you must have been injured or became ill while on the job or directly related to the job. Workers' compensation is governed by each individual state, so rules will vary with each state.
The question of receiving both types of benefits must be answered with the total compensation for which your are entitled to receive. Simply put, if you qualify for both programs, your workers' comp payment will be used to reduce your SSDI payment. This calculation, called an "offset", provides that both SSDI and workers' comp benefits never exceed 80% of your previous job's salary. This "offset" continues until you reach retirement age, when your regular Social Security retirement benefit begins to be paid. Depending upon your worker's comp settlement, you may at this time be able to collect a larger amount each month.
Workers' Comp Lump Sum Payment
While some workers' comp claims are paid monthly for the remainder of your life, sometimes you may be offered a lump sum payment instead. The skills of a Workers' comp attorney are needed to ensure that your lump sum settlement agreement is worded to maximize your benefits by structuring the settlement to disbursed in monthly amounts. Make sure to contact a Social Security or workers' comp attorney—like those at Zavodnick, Perlmutter & Boccia LLC and other firms—to assist you in getting the compensation you have earned, need and are eligible to receive.