Problems With Getting Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation Benefits at the Same time.

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Our nation’s largest disability benefits programs are the federal Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”) and Medicare programs, and workers’ compensation programs.

Injured employees who are receiving workers’ compensation, often apply for SSDI when they discover that their disabilities are permanent.

While you can apply for both types of disability benefits at the same time—and may even be able to receive both types of benefits at the same time—there are problems with getting Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and workers’ compensation at the same time.

Before we get to that, however, it may be best to get a clear understanding of what each of these programs covers and how they work.

Social Security Disability Benefits — How do They Work?

As noted above, SSDI is a federal program that is administered by each one of the states. The body which makes the rules and regulations governing SSDI is the Social Security Administration (“SSA.”)

The eligibility requirements for being awarded SSDI include having a disability that meets the SSA’s definition of “disability” and having worked and paid into the Social Security system for a set period of time.

The SSA’s definition of “disability” is a strict one. SSDI does not pay for temporary or short-term disabilities.

For purposes of receiving SSDI, it does not really matter how you came by your disability. In other words, you do not need to be injured on the job to qualify for disability benefits. You do, however, have to meet the SSA’s strict definition of disability, and you do need to  have worked at jobs covered by Social Security.

Being awarded disability benefits under the SSDI program is not easy. According to statistics, about 65% of all first-time applications are denied by the SSA. Those who work with a social security disability lawyer have a far better chance of being awarded disability benefits.

Workers’ Compensation is Not the Same as Disability Benefits

Workers’ compensation (also known as “workers’ comp” or “workman’s compensation”) is insurance that your employer carries. It provides coverage for employees who are injured on the job or who contract job-related illnesses.

Florida law requires almost all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

In exchange for not suing an employer for his or her injuries, workers’ compensation insurance covers an injured employee’s expenses such as:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral costs
  • Legal fees

Unlike SSDI, workers’ compensation will pay for both short-term and long-term disabilities. However, to qualify for workers’ compensation, you must be injured at work, or while working. Injuries or illnesses that are not work-related are not covered by workers’ compensation.

Problems With Getting SSDI and Workers’ Compensation Benefits at the Same Time

Although it might be possible to do, there are some problems with getting both SSDI and workers’ compensation benefits at the same time.

First of all, as noted above, qualifying for benefits for either program is one thing. Being awarded benefits is an entirely different matter.

Both the SSA and workers’ compensation programs are known for denying more benefit applications than they approve. As a result, you should always work with a social security disability lawyer and a workers’ compensation attorney to improve your chances of being awarded benefits.

But assuming you do qualify and are awarded both disability benefits and workers’ compensation benefits at the same time, there will be other difficulties.

In Florida, injured workers can only collect both workers’ compensation and disability benefits if, when combined, the total amount received is 80% or less than the worker’s average weekly wage earned before the injury.

Thus, while you can receive both at the same time, if you do get SSDI and workers’ compensation benefits at the same time if the total amount exceeds 80% of your current average weekly wage, one of your benefits will be reduced so that your “total public disability benefit” does not exceed 80 percent of your average current earnings. If up live in Florida, it is most likely that your workers’ compensation benefits will be reduced because Florida follows a “reverse offset” approach in these instances.

If you have suffered an injury or are disabled, understanding how the workers’ compensation and disability laws and rules work is a very good reason to speak with a disability lawyer.

Helping the Disabled in Florida.

John Fagan and his legal team are dedicated to helping those who have been injured due to the negligence of another, or disabled. Contact us here or simply call our firm at: 777-JOHN. We serve clients throughout Florida. Our main office is in Orange Park, but we have consulting offices in Palatka, Middleburg, Keystone, Starke, Gainesville, and Ocala.

There’s Never a Fee Unless We Get Money For You

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