If you have been seriously injured at work, it is important to understand the difference between workers compensation and social security disability benefits. Most workers don’t end up applying for social security, but if you do, not knowing the rules could cost you thousands of dollars.

Workers compensation is a program to provide benefits to workers if they suffered a work-related illness or injury. Companies are required to have workers compensation insurance, so that an employee can file a workers compensation claim and receive a settlement to cover their medical expenses and lost wages. This settlement can be paid in monthly payments or a lump sum.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or “Disability” is a government program that provides monthly payments to workers who have a disability that limits their ability to work or prevents them from working altogether. It’s typically available when it’s anticipated that you won’t be able to work for a year or longer.

Here are some frequently asked questions about workers compensation and SSDI/Disability:

Q. What if I become disabled from an accident that happened while I was not at work?

Workers compensation benefits are only for those who are hurt at work. Social Security Disability benefits are for long-term impairments no matter the cause or location.

Q. When are workers compensation and SSDI benefits available?

Workers comp benefits are available from Day 1 on the job. SSDI benefits require a minimum number of days worked. An injured worker must have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify for SSDI. It’s used when a worker has a longer term injury.

Q. Can an injured worker received both workers compensation and SSDI benefits?

The short answer is yes, in some situations the worker can receive both. You shouldn’t apply for it without talking to a lawyer first though.

Q. How does workers compensation affect SSDI benefits?

If you combine your monthly SSDI benefits with your workers compensation benefits, the total amount must not exceed 80% of your average current earnings. If your SSDI plus workers comp benefits is greater than 80%, the amount above is deducted from your Social Security benefit.

Q. How does having an attorney help?

Attorneys who specialize in workers compensation and SSDI know these complex laws and eligibility requirements backwards and forwards. They can help you navigate this confusing and time-consuming process. They know which medical records and documentation are necessary. They will help maximize your benefits. Most importantly, they will make sure that when you settle your work comp case that it’s done so in a way that reduces any set-off to your social security pay.

Q. How does the attorney get paid?

Workers comp and SSDI attorneys do not charge anything up front. They only get paid if they obtain a settlement for you.

You may have more questions about qualifying for and filing for workers compensation and/or SSDI benefits. Contact us any time at 312-346-5578.