If you sustain injuries or develop an illness that is attributable to your work, you may be eligible for compensation for the resulting medical bills and lost income through your workers’ compensation benefits. And if your work-related injury or illness prevents you from returning to work altogether, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
Can you collect both? You can be eligible for both workers’ compensation and SSD benefits at the same time as long as you qualify for both – but you can’t receive a combined benefit that is more than 80% of your average current earnings. For this reason, many people wait until their workers’ comp is nearing its end to file for SSD.
How workers’ comp differs from SSD benefits
Whereas both SSD and workers’ comp benefits provide financial restitution to injured or ailing workers, they are completely different programs with specific application requirements and criteria.
Workers’ compensation benefits are governed by Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. Thus, to be eligible for compensation, you must meet the following conditions:
- Your illness or injury must be directly attributable to your work
- You must inform your employer of the injury in writing within 21 days from the date of the workplace accident
- You must file your claim within the statute of limitations period
Social Security Disability benefits, on the other hand, are managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), a federal government agency. To qualify for SSD benefits, you must meet the following conditions among others:
- Your disability must be expected to last for at least 12 months, or lead to death
- The disability must prevent you from working in your current role or performing any other work
- You must have earned enough work credits
Yes, if you qualify, you can receive both workers’ comp and SSD benefits, although it’s not always advantageous. Find out how you can improve your odds of receiving both benefits if you are no longer able to work — and your best options — due to a work-related injury or disability.