A sudden work injury or disabling medical condition can be devastating. If you cannot work, you cannot pay your bills. You might wonder what your family will do without your income. The good news is that you could be eligible for one or more forms of disability benefits.
Most workplace injuries are covered by workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania. Injured workers may receive paid medical treatment. They may also receive lost wages benefits.
When a work-related injury causes permanent disability, the worker may also be entitled to receive Social Security disability benefits.
Receiving private or public disability payments and SSDI payments can cause problems. Disability benefits from other sources could reduce your Social Security disability benefits. However, there are a few exceptions.
Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensations vs. Social Security Disability
Generally, workers’ comp benefits include:
- Payments for lost wages
- Medical care
- Specific loss benefits
- Death benefits for surviving family members
Injured workers may receive temporary total disability benefits for up to 105 weeks. Disability benefits will continue if the worker’s impairment rating is 35% or higher.
On the other hand, the federal government funds Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages disability benefits, which offers an additional form of compensation for injured workers.
Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Benefits
Each program has different eligibility requirements for benefits. You might qualify for workers’ compensation disability benefits. However, the SSA might deny your application for Social Security disability benefits.
To receive workers’ compensation disability benefits, the Injured worker needs to show:
- They sustained an injury on the job
- During the ordinary course of employment
- That prevents them from working
However, the requirements for SSDI are different. You must have a mental or physical disability that prevents you from working. Your medical condition must last at least one year or result in death.
How Will My Workers’ Compensation Benefits Affect My Social Security Disability Claim?
The application process for Social Security disability and workers’ compensation are different. You can file a Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation claim after a work injury. If the injury causes a long-term disability, then you can apply for Social Security disability benefits.
The problem arises if both applications are approved. Your SSDI payments could be reduced based on your workers’ compensation payments.
Figuring Your Reduction in SSDI Payments Based on Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The SSA calculates the reduction in SSDI payments based on your workers’ compensation benefits. Your SSDI monthly benefits include benefits paid to your family.
The total of your SSDI benefits is added to the amount of your workers’ compensation payment. If the total is more than 80% of your average current earnings, the SSA reduces your disability benefits. If you stop receiving workers’ comp benefits, the SSA should increase your SSDI payments.
The SSA uses several different formulas to calculate average current earnings. The formula used in your case depends on the specific facts of your case.
Do Private Disability Payments Impact Social Security Disability Income?
Public disability payments for non-job-related disabling conditions could reduce Social Security disability benefits. The payments include benefits from federal, state, and local governments.
There are exceptions to this rule, including:
- Veterans Administration benefits
- Supplemental Security Income
- State and local government benefits when you paid Social Security taxes from your earnings
Private disability insurance benefits should not affect SSDI payments. Likewise, private pensions do not affect Social Security disability benefits.
Are You Unsure What Your Next Step Should Be Regarding Disability Benefits?
Your goal is to receive the most money possible for disability benefits. You need the income to support yourself and your family. However, receiving multiple disability payments can cause issues.
Do you have questions about Social Security disability benefits? If so, you can contact the Social Security Administration. You may also want to consult with a disability lawyer.
A lawyer can help you understand your options and legal rights; they can also help you maximize your benefits.