As New York workers’ compensation attorneys handling workers’ compensation or on the job injury claims, we are very often asked about eligibility for Social Security Disability. There is often confusion between the different types of disability and who is entitled to what benefits. This article should help clear up the confusion
Workers’ compensation is paid when there is an on the job injury that prevents you from working. It serves as a wage replacement system. In contrast, if an off the job injury prevents you from working you may be entitled to temporary disability. These are exclusive, opposite remedies and you are only entitled to one of them.
If you suffer from an injury or illness that is expected to keep you out of work for a year or more you may qualify for Social Security disability, regardless of whether the injury or illness was the result of your work. While New York State workers’ compensation only covers you for a disability that is directly attributable an on-the-job injury, Social Security looks at your overall condition to determine if you are entitled to benefits. You can receive both workers’ compensation and Social Security at the same time, with Social Security being offset for workers’ compensation.
So if, for example, you have a work injury to your back and you also suffer from high blood pressure, you can receive your workers’ compensation benefits for your back injury and Social Security for both the back and high blood pressure. Even if the injuries from your work injury would not rise to the level of severity needed to win a claim in workers’ compensation, you may have other injuries or medical conditions, not related to the underlying accident, the totality of which could result in being approved for Social Security.
If you have been out of work due to an on the job injury for more than 6 months you should apply for Social Security Disability. The benefits you receive from workers’ compensation can be supplemented by your Social Security. While you can get Social Security and workers’ compensation at the same time, in most circumstances, the maximum combined amount is about 80% of what your earnings were before you were injured. It is very important to keep Social Security advised of the money you are receiving from your workers’ compensation case. If your workers’ compensation benefits are lowered, your Social Security may go up as the reduction may bring you below the level of the original offset.
Obtaining workers’ compensation and Social Security can be very challenging and it can be very important that you speak to attorneys who specialize in these areas to get the legal advice you need to protect your rights and your benefits.
Thanks to our friends and blog authors at Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. for their insight into workers’ compensation and Social Security benefits.