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Workplace injuries and Social Security Disability Insurance

There have been several studies done on the correlation between workplace injuries and illnesses and the need for Social Security Disability Insurance. Workers' compensation and SSDI are our country's two largest social insurance programs for those with disabilities.

Workers' compensation provides cash and medical benefits for employees who are injured while on the job. Normally, all the necessary medical bills and expenses are covered by workers' compensation. In order for a worker to receive cash benefits, there must be a permanent disability or a temporary disability that exceeds the waiting period established by the state. The replacement of lost wages is capped and can vary by state. If a worker can return to work at the pay level he or she was at before the injury or illness, then the cash benefit will stop. If a permanent disability is the result of the injury or illness, then the employee will likely receive only part of his or her full-time wages.

The benefits from SSDI may be available to some injured or ill workers. There are some specific requirements, though. For example, the disability must be expected to be ongoing for at least 12 months or will end in the worker's death. A worker must have established a work history that meets the minimum requirements for SSDI. Finally, there are limits as to how much of the worker's lost wages can be paid between workers' compensation and SSDI.

As you can see, understanding workers' compensation and SSDI benefits can be difficult, especially if both will be claimed. An attorney experienced in workers' compensation claims can help determine what your options are.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Workplace Injuries and the Take-Up of Social Security Disability Benefits," accessed Feb. 12, 2016

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