Workplace accidents happen to people from all walks of life and can disrupt and devastate the injured employee’s quality of living. If you are injured on the job and disabled, one common question is: Can you receive both Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?
While the answer is yes, there is key information to know if this applies to your situation, and how it affects the monthly benefit total.
Workers’ Compensation laws in each state cover injuries or illness that occur while performing duties at a workers’ place of employment. An injury may have happened in a workplace accident, at a company-sponsored event, or may also be an illness that developed due to the specific work.
However, if an injury is permanent, the employee may need to apply for SSDI, which provides disability coverage.
SSDI is a federal program of the Social Security Administration designed to provide coverage for permanent disability.
When an injured worker files a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits, they must show that the injury qualifies under their state’s laws. Workers in Pennsylvania can receive coverage for medical care, rehabilitation, and wages lost while unable to work.
When the individual is disabled and not able to return to work, then filing a claim for benefits through SSDI is the next step, or may occur at the same time. The employee may already be receiving monthly Workers’ Compensation benefits, but they are designed to be temporary, and will not necessarily cover the disabled worker’s requirements.
In addition, some injured workers, with the assistance of a Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer, instead negotiate a one-time or lump sum settlement as an alternative to monthly Workers’ Compensation payments.
In either case, the individual will not receive the full payments of Workers’ Compensation and SSDI simultaneously. There are rules for how Social Security calculates what is called an “offset,” which reduces the amount of SSDI.
The general rule is that a disabled worker cannot receive more than 80% of the amount they earned when employed. Social Security uses a formula to calculate the applicable limit from the worker’s pre-injury earnings. The SSDI will be reduced, so that the total of Workers’ Compensation payments and SSDI do not exceed the 80% threshold.
The course of understanding your rights in this process can be complex to navigate. Social Security and Workers’ Compensation utilize different definitions of disability. Sometimes initial Workers’ Compensation claims can be denied, which then requires filing a formal or informal appeal.
Additionally, the language in lump sum Workers’ Compensation agreements affects how SSDI calculates the offset, as well as any excluded expenses, with the goal of providing the injured worker with enough monthly income. This is another reason to consider experienced guidance from a Philadelphia work injury lawyer from the beginning, to ensure that your rights are protected.
If you or a loved one have become disabled in the workplace, the Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers of Gross & Kenny, LLP are experienced in Workers’ Compensation and disability law. For a free initial consultation regarding your case, please complete our online form or call us at 267-589-0090.
We serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey from our offices in Philadelphia.