Read on to learn more about the difference between workers’ compensation and social security disability benefits and whether you can apply for both.
Accidents and injuries in the workplace happen. When accidents occur at your place of work as a result of negligence or an unsafe working environment, your employer is responsible for supporting your recovery from injury, including providing the financial support to cover medical expenses, working time lost while you are recovering, and potentially long-term effects on your capacity to function in your profession.
One question many people have when they are injured on the job is whether they can apply for workers’ compensation benefits and social security disability benefits or whether they are mutually exclusive.
What is the difference between Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability?
Workers’ compensation is a program of the state of New Jersey, managed by the state. Social Security Disability is a federal program. While both apply to financial support in the case of injury on the job, they are distinct.
Workers’ compensation benefits vary from state to state. By design, they are a temporary offering, though permanent disability benefits do exist. Workers’ comp is designed to support the financial needs of an injured employee while they await federal Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI).
Am I eligible to receive both Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability benefits?
As noted above, because the programs operate at different levels, you are eligible to receive benefits from both programs, assuming that you apply. Disability benefits (SSDI) are only applied following provision of a claim if as a result of your workplace injury, you have been in no way able to work for a period of one calendar year, or if you have sustained an injury or illness that expects to result in your death. At the federal level, disability benefits are only offered for complete disability, not partial, so if you are able to work part-time or partially, your SSDI claim will be denied.
Does receiving workers’ compensation benefits in any way change your likelihood of receiving Social Security Disability benefits? No. The two programs are unique and separate.
How can I know if I qualify for SSDI?
The process of qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance is based on the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book, a guide that determines a claimant’s qualification for benefits. Specific conditions are noted as being eligible for disability insurance, and the Blue Book breaks these conditions down by a system of the body and medical ailments that may be affecting that system. In addition to simply identifying the illness and part of the body affected, the Blue Book specifies the impact that the illness or disease has on the person in order to determine whether the claimant qualifies for benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance Program. Such determinants include the origin of the illness or disease, and whether the work directly or indirectly caused it; the extent of the illness and, in the case that it is a long-standing disease, how much damage it has done to the body in its spread; and how successful initial medical treatment (likely covered by New Jersey’s workers’ compensation program) has been in removing the cause.
As one would expect, it is essential that the claimant has detailed documentation of the illness or disease from its onset, what medical treatments and expenses have been involved in care thus far, how the body has responded to such treatments, and other pertinent information. Without this detailed information, an SSDI claim will be denied by the Social Security Administration, and workers’ compensation benefits may lapse without ongoing financial support.
How is the amount of workers’ compensation and SSDI benefits one receives calculated?
One way in which state workers’ compensation benefits and federal SSDI benefits are aligned is in the fact that one cannot receive more than 80 percent of their income in benefits. Even if, due to expenses, the amount you are entitled to receive is greater than this 80 percent, the amount of the additional benefits will be subtracted to value the 80 percent of your income.
To ensure that you navigate your workers’ compensation and SSDI claims successfully, seek the support of a skilled and experienced attorney.
Contact our Workers’ Compensation Attorney for a free consultation
If you have been injured on the job, knowing what benefits you can receive and how to go about pursuing the resources to meet your financial and medical needs is essential. For this reason, it is key to engage with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who knows the system in New Jersey inside and out based on years of handling cases of this kind.
Contact The Law Office of Cohen & Riechelson, serving all Mercer County workers and employers, by calling (609) 528-2596 to speak with an attorney regarding your particular workers’ compensation case. We will examine the situation that you’re in after being injured on the job and discuss your options for obtaining workers’ comp, social security benefits, and possible damages for personal injury. Get straight, honest answers about a case in Trenton, Hamilton, Princeton, Lawrence Township, East Windsor, Hopewell, and surrounding areas by contacting us today.