The short answer to this question is yes. The more lawyerly answer is — it depends. Whether you can collect both workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability depends on the type and severity of the injury you have suffered.
What is workers’ comp?
Workers’ compensation (also called workers’ comp or workmans’ comp) is a type of disability insurance that is paid for by your employer. If you are injured on the job or suffer from a work-related illness, workers’ compensation will:
- Cover your injury or illness-related medical expenses, and
- Replace a portion of the wages you miss as a result of the incident or illness.
It may also:
- Pay for you to be trained for a different job if you are permanently unable to perform the job you held when you were injured, and
- Give you or your family a lump sum settlement if you permanently and severely injured (like if you lose an arm, for example) or if you are killed.
New York state law determines whether you are covered by the workers’ comp system and what benefits you are eligible for.
As noted above, only work-related injuries or illnesses enable you to seek workers’ compensation benefits. It is therefore important to have detailed medical records that prove the illness or injury you are suffering from is work-related. Pre-existing conditions, or injuries that are made worse because you did not take proper care of yourself, can decrease the amount of compensation you are eligible for.
How is that different from Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program, paid for by taxpayers, and run by the Social Security Administration. It provides financial assistance to those who are unable to work due to a serious medical condition.
You may be eligible for compensation if you:
- Suffer from a serious medical condition which renders you disabled under the government’s strict definition of “disabled”;
- The medical condition causes you to be unable to work before the age of 65 and for more than one year; and
- You have paid into the Social Security System in a qualifying position for 5 of the 10 years preceding your injury.
If you are eligible for SSDI, you may be entitled to a number of benefits including:
- A monthly cash stipend during the time you are disabled;
- Medicare health insurance; and
- Auxiliary benefits for certain family members.
Applying for both workers’ comp and SSD.
If you have been seriously injured on the job, or suffer from a work-related illness, and your injury or illness renders your disabled under the government’s definition of that word, there is no reason why you should not be able to collect both workers’ comp and SSDI benefits.
Oftentimes people who are seeking SSDI will first apply for workers’ comp so they are getting some compensation while they wait for the federal government to process their SSDI application.
The one thing applying for both workers’ comp and SSDI may do is reduce the amount of money you receive from SSDI. The total income you receive from workers’ comp and SSDI cannot be more than 80% off your previous income. If it is, the SSA will deduct money from your SSDI payment to bring your total under 80%.
Working with an experienced disability benefits attorney, like those in our Manhattan office, can help you determine if you should apply for workers’ comp, SSDI, or both. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.