Can you apply for Social Security when receiving workers’ comp?

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

An injury at work that has lasting consequences may lead to a workers’ compensation claim. You will need short-term disability benefits during your convalescence and medical coverage for the care that you receive.

When it becomes clear that returning to your former job is no longer an option, you may then need to apply for long-term disability benefits through workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, those benefits are only up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, and even then, there’s a state maximum benefit. High earners may find that workers’ compensation disability benefits don’t pay enough for them to manage their bills.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a government program that you contribute to through tax withholdings. Most people will use Social Security benefits to help fund their retirement, but SSDI can also help those who get hurt on the job and can’t keep working. Can you apply for SSDI while already receiving workers’ compensation?

Those who qualify can potentially receive both benefits

Unlike unemployment, whose requirements and terms generally contradict the requirements of disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits come with requirements that overlap with those for SSDI.

Workers’ compensation insurance companies and the Social Security Administration (SSA) will need medical records to validate claims of disability. In order to qualify for SSDI, the injury you suffered on the job needs to be serious enough to prevent you from going back to work for at least a year.

Once you know that the severity and duration of your injury meet the criteria for SSDI, you can apply for benefits even while still receiving workers’ compensation. 

Workers’ compensation may reduce your SSDI benefit amount

SSDI is a crucial benefit for those currently unable to work and support themselves. It is a contribution-based one. If you have contributed enough to Social Security through your working life and your medical condition qualifies you for benefits, you can receive SSDI while also receiving workers’ compensation.

However, instead of the full amount of SSDI that you might qualify for, the SSA will likely reduce what you receive in consideration of the workers’ compensation benefits you also get. Navigating an SSDI application while already receiving workers’ compensation can require more care and attention to detail than a claim involving fewer complications.