Simultaneous Qualification for Workers’ Comp and SSD
Workers’ compensation benefits and social security disability are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it may be comforting to know that many people qualify for both types of compensation simultaneously, and most are able to receive both as long as the appropriate forms and documentation are in place.
Even so, it is important to hire an attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of SSD laws and requirements. There are specific limitations in place that must be handled expertly in order to maximize the benefits you’re entitled to.
Making the Distinction Between Workers’ Comp and SSD
Workers’ compensation is an employer-issued insurance that provides financial protection and benefits for employees who may become ill, injured or disabled while carrying out the duties of their job. While workers’ comp insurance is carried by the employer, it is a state requirement for most companies or businesses that have employees. There are very few exemptions to an employer’s carrying workers’ comp insurance, but exemptions do exist; so it’s a good idea to find out if an employer is exempt before accepting a position.
SSD, on the other hand, is a government-sponsored benefit program designed to provide financial support for people who have become disabled. The disability does not have to be a work-related incident, and any disability that meets SSD’s requirements can qualify. The catch is, you must have worked and paid into Social Security in order to be eligible for benefits.
Simultaneous Workers’ Comp and SSD Claims
When a person develops a disability due to a work-related incident, he or she may be eligible to receive both workers’ compensation and SSD if the disability is expected to last more than one year.
SSD benefits are usually offset or reduced by a percentage of your workers’ comp benefits. A person cannot receive more than 80 percent of their total income prior to the injury that caused the disability. Therefore, while you may qualify for a certain amount of SSD benefits, you may not receive your full SSD benefit amount while your workers’ comp claim is actively being paid if the sum of both benefits exceeds the 80 percent limit. When your workers’ comp payments cease, you will be eligible to receive the maximum amount of SSD benefits you qualify for.
It is important to note that if you receive a large worker’s comp settlement it can have a significant impact on your future SSD benefits. The amount of the settlement will be prorated over a number of months and years, and will impact the amount of your SSD benefits for those months. To have the smallest impact/offset of your SSD benefits it is usually best that a workers’ comp settlement be prorated over a long period of time, usually over a person’s remaining lifetime. It is important that language to this effect be included in any workers’ comp settlement agreement.
Coordinating Your Workers’ Comp and SSD Claims
Both types of injury/disability benefit programs can be quite complex and require a great deal of documentation. By working with a qualified attorney, you can maximize your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve. For SSD claims in Pennsylvania, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco.