Overlap Between Social Security Disability and Workers' Compensation Claims

Job Injury Lawyers Serving Riverside and San Bernardino County Employees

Most people need their jobs for survival. When a worker is injured or made sick on the job, they may no longer be able to work. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and workers’ compensation were both put in place to allow workers to obtain partial wage replacement in the event that they become disabled. There is some overlap between Social Security Disability and workers’ compensation claims, but they are distinct systems. If you are uncertain about whether you should file for one set of benefits or the other, you should consult the Riverside and San Bernardino County workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C.

Overlap Between Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation Claims

Different laws govern SSDI benefits and workers’ compensation benefits. They require different applications, and they mandate that workers meet different tests. The SSDI system is run by the federal government. The workers’ compensation system is run at the state level. SSDI and workers’ compensation overlap to the extent that both are designed to provide you with money in case you cannot work. However, the nature of and reason for your disability will dictate which system you should use.

SSDI provides benefits that are paid by the federal government and overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA). They are paid if you are disabled, as judged by strict SSA criteria, regardless of the reason for your disability. These benefits are meant to cover your basic living expenses.

Workers’ compensation is a system in which benefits are paid by an employer’s insurance, or by the employer when the employer is self-insured. These benefits are broader than SSDI, but they are only paid in connection with work-related injuries or illnesses. In certain situations, you may be eligible for both, but there will be a cap on your SSDI benefits if you are receiving payments for both. The total amount that you get from these two systems will not be more than 80% of your average current earnings or the SSDI payments that your entire family gets during the first month that you receive workers’ compensation.

Qualifying for SSDI and Workers’ Compensation

Qualification for both SSDI and workers’ compensation depends on your work history. You pay into SSDI every year that you work at your job in the form of FICA or SECA taxes that are placed in a trust fund that is used to distribute benefits. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have worked for a long enough time that you have contributed a certain amount in FICA or SECA taxes. These are converted into work credits. The threshold for work credits is lower for younger workers who become disabled. Older people need more work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits.

In contrast, you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of the number of hours for which you have worked for your employer. Business owners are required to carry workers’ compensation for employees who regularly work in California. Even businesses with just one employee need to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. However, independent contractors cannot get workers’ compensation benefits because they are not covered employees. Unlike with SSDI, to qualify for workers’ compensation, you need to be a covered employee who has sustained job-related injuries or illnesses. Contact the Law Office with questions about whether you qualify.

Procedures for SSDI and Workers’ Compensation

Both SSDI and workers’ compensation require you to make a claim. To obtain SSDI benefits, you will need to file an application. These benefits will not start until you have been disabled for six full months, so it is important to get your application on file as soon as possible. The first step in bringing a workers’ compensation claim is notifying your employer about the work-related injury within 30 days of getting hurt or becoming ill. You should be provided with a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form, and when you return the completed form to your employer, the claims process commences. Our attorneys can guide you through each step.

Types of Benefits

SSDI benefits replace a portion of a person’s wages. The Social Security Administration uses your average earnings subject to Social Security taxation to calculate what your primary insurance amount is. The primary insurance amount is used to decide the amount of your benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits include disability benefits that partially replace wages. Potential benefits also include payments for medical bills and retraining. Workers’ compensation disability benefits for total disability are paid at a rate of two-thirds of your average weekly wage at the time of getting injured. However, unlike with SSDI, which is only paid if you are fully disabled, you can be partially disabled and still get workers’ compensation benefits.

Retain a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Riverside or San Bernardino County

If you want to know more about the overlap between Social Security Disability and workers’ compensation claims, you should talk to the experienced Riverside and San Bernardino County attorneys at the Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. We represent victims throughout Southern California. Contact us at (888) 883-6588 or via our online form.

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