If you have lost the ability to work in any way due to a work-related experience, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. It may also be possible that you might qualify for Social Security Administration disability benefits programs, which are the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. While you may find yourself eligible for all of these financially assistive options, you may not be able to receive all of them together. It will depend on a number of factors.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

People who become injured or ill while on the job or due to workplace-related incidents or environments are often eligible for workers’ compensation. This type of benefit is covered by the employer – it’s a type of insurance that most businesses are required to have. Workers’ compensation is designed to protect both the employee and the employer. You might be eligible for cash payments and medical treatment reimbursements. These payments are typically used to replace the loss of wages.

While a person recovers, it is also possible to claim temporary disability. This type of disability is typically only offered while a person is not working, but is expected to return to work in some capacity. If a person is not expected to return to the same job or any job, they may qualify for permanent disability. And if the result of such injuries or illnesses is fatal, survivor benefits are available to loved ones. Employers are required by state laws to maintain the appropriate level of workers’ compensation insurance so that employees and employers are protected at all times and for any circumstance.

It’s a common misperception that claiming worker’s compensation benefits means a lawsuit against the employer. Another misperception that causes some workers to be afraid to claim their benefits is the fear that it might hurt the company or put their boss in a bad situation. The good news is that neither of those misperceptions are really true. Worker’s compensation is a type of business insurance that is meant to help employees and filing a claim shouldn’t hurt the business. It is also important to note that many states have laws prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees that file a workers’ compensation claim.

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Social Security Benefits

Workers’ compensation is designed to protect employees when they become injured or ill while working. While states are supposed to ensure all employers have proper workers’ compensation insurance, sometimes situations can arise that leave employees vulnerable, such as employers lapsing in their insurance coverage or employees working and being paid under the table. This kind of thing happens enough that some states have emplaced special funds to help employees when it does occur. Additionally, SSI and SSDI benefits can possibly help if someone becomes disabled for any reason at all.

SSI is a needs-based benefit program for individuals who are unable to work or earn a reasonable wage because of disabilities or other impairments. That means that qualifying is based on both medical limitations and the amount of income you receive or the assets you have, rather than on having earned work credits. These limitations can be physical or mental limitations.

SSDI benefits, on the other hand, require that recipients have medical limitations and sufficient work history in contributing toward the Social Security tax system to qualify. Under SSDI, you will have to compile enough work credits within a specific number of years. It is possible to receive Medicare or Medicaid within these programs to help pay for medical expenses.

Both of these benefit programs have reward maximums in place, meaning that there is a cap on how much money a person can receive per month in benefits. The Social Security Administration will examine your other benefits and financial resources when determining your eligibility for benefits.

When Workers’ Comp Affects Disability Benefits

As mentioned, SSA benefits will examine all sources of income and financial resources to determine your benefit amount. In most cases, you cannot receive SSDI or SSI benefits if your other benefits would exceed 80% of the average of your earnings prior to becoming disabled, injured or ill. Certain public benefits will not have an effect on your social security benefits; however, workers’ compensation is not one of them – it can affect whether you qualify for SSI or SSDI.

It is absolutely possible to receive both workers’ compensation and social security benefits. Your financials are not the only area that may impact your ability to utilize both SSA benefits and workers’ compensation. A few aspects of SSI and SSDI can impact one’s ability to use both. For example, there are restrictions in place with Medicare and Medicaid and the ability to use them to offset workers’ compensation coverage. The same challenges exist if a disability benefits recipient was paid a one-time workers’ comp settlement. This area can be highly complex to navigate and is best addressed by a professional disability lawyer.

Each case will be unique, and it may be helpful to discuss your options with an advocate before completing any paperwork and finalizing any decisions. And remember that if you ever stop receiving workers’ compensation or other benefits for any reason and you still have health or physical complications, you can always apply for SSI and SSDI to continue to help financially.

Qualifying for SSA Disability Programs

The amount of workers’ compensation you receive is not the only factor the SSA will consider before you qualify for SSI or SSDI. Each program has unique qualifying factors. The SSI program centers on your financial situation and your ability or inability to work. In turn, the SSDI focuses more on whether or not you have paid enough in Social Security taxes to qualify for benefits. You will also have to meet the medical definition of disability by the SSA’s Blue Book. These can include any number of impairments, from physical and mental disabilities to chronic or acute illnesses and diseases.

All of your medical records, test results and examinations regarding your injury or illness will be examined in great detail. Your age could also be a factor as well as the length of time you have been disabled and the length of time you are expected to be disabled. And remember that SSI and SSDI have the potential to provide long-term disability benefits rather than simply short-term solutions. These benefits can take half a year or longer for approval – so, if you are interested in applying, start a conversation with a disability advocate as soon as you believe your medical limitations will keep you out of work for at least one year.

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About Citizens Disability, LLC:

Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our services include helping people in applying for SSDI benefits, managing the process through Reconsideration, and representing people in person at their Hearing, and if necessary, bringing their case to the Appeals Council. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled. Learn more about us and disability benefits like SSDI & SSI or give us a call at (800) 492-3260.

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