If you have been injured in a work-related accident, you may know that you might be eligible to collect workers' comp insurance. If your injury turns out to be more serious, you may also be qualified to collect Social Security Disability Insurance. The question you may be asking is "can I collect both?" The short answer to the question is "yes," but there are some limits and guidelines to know about. Read on to learn more about collecting from both of these programs at the same time.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
This government-assistance program is aimed at those who have worked a certain amount of time and earned a certain amount of money, based on your age at the time of your disability. This program will pay you a monthly amount, but only if you can prove that your medical condition is serious enough to keep you out of work for at least 12 months. Your condition must also be listed on the Social Security Administration's list of qualifying medical conditions. The key difference between SSDI and workers' comp is that SSDI does not require that your medical condition be work related.
This is a state-run program that provides workers with medical expenses and a partial wage for work-related injuries. You are eligible from your very first day of work and at no cost to you; your employer pays the insurance premium. At some point, if your injury or illness is deemed to be a permanent disability, your benefits will convert to either a lump-sum payment or monthly or weekly payments.
Taking Advantage of Both Programs at the Same Time
If you qualify for benefits from both programs, you may be eligible to receive payments from both at the same time. There are, however, SSDI limits to the amount of money you can receive in a month. You can only receive a total (both SSDI and workers' comp) of 80% of your former salary. This reduction is called an offset, and the offset remains in place until you reach full retirement age, at which time you are allowed to receive your full payment from workers' comp.
The need for expert legal help when your workers' comp settlement is negotiated cannot be overstated. These settlements can be structured to be paid out in a manner that will allow you to receive your maximum amount available. For example, a settlement agreement that keeps your medical expense benefit separate from your pain and suffering and wage replacement is key.
Offset rules can be extremely complicated, so professional legal advice is vital. Contact a workers' comp attorney such as one from Shoap Law Offices to assist you in getting the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.