Can You Get Workers’ Compensation and SSDI at the Same Time?
If you’re injured at work and can’t do your job as a result, can you get workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments at the same time?
Absolutely. That’s because they’re different programs with different purposes and criteria, so it’s possible to be eligible for both.
Workers’ compensation is a state-regulated insurance program that employers pay into. It helps cover expenses that arise when an employee is injured on the job.
States determine who is eligible for workers’ compensation and under what circumstances. Generally speaking, to be eligible, you need to be injured while at work (or, in some cases, traveling for work). The injury doesn’t necessarily have to result from your work duties.
By contrast, the U.S. Social Security Administration administers SSDI. This is a federal program designed to provide financial assistance to people who have a work history – and thus have paid into the Social Security system – and who become disabled. (Some people can qualify for SSDI based on the work history of a family member.)
If you’re thinking there must be a catch, there is: Your SSDI payments can be affected if you’re also getting workers’ compensation payments.
“If you are receiving workers’ compensation, the [Social Security Administration] will set a limit on what you can receive in terms of your monthly SSDI payment,” the Disability Advocates Law Group says. “If you are receiving both workers’ compensation and SSDI, the total amount of benefits you receive cannot be more than 80% of your average current earnings prior to becoming disabled.”
In other words, as part of the SSDI application process, the Social Security Administration determines your average income as of the time of the application. If you’re receiving workers’ compensation, those payments will be factored in, and your SSDI benefits may be reduced so your total benefits don’t exceed 80% of what you earned before becoming disabled.
Because workers’ compensation payments can affect SSDI payments, tell the Social Security Administration immediately if your workers’ compensation payments are reduced or stopped altogether. You may be entitled to higher SSDI payments at that point.
How Does SSDI Work?
In essence, SSDI payments go to someone with a qualifying disability and certain members of their family, if the person with a disability has a sufficient work history and paid into the Social Security system. A related program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays benefits to someone who has a qualifying disability and limited income.
Here’s a handy reference chart.
Source: Disability Advocates Law Group