Can a Disabled Worker File for Both Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability?

By Katherine L on September 20, 2018 | In Social Security Disability

Can a Disabled Worker File for Both Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability?

If you have been injured on the job, or have a work-related illness, and you are unable to work, you are probably eligible for California Workers’ Compensation (WC). But did you know that you may apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits at the same time?

In general, eligible individuals can apply to both of these programs. WC is a state-run benefit, and SSDI is a federal benefit. However, the eligibility requirements for the two programs are different. So you may qualify for one of them but not the other.

Eligibility for WC means that you are unable to do your job because of your injury or illness. But to qualify for SSDI, you must be totally disabled and your disability must be expected to last for more than one year, or to result in death.

In a sense, these two programs complement each other. While Workers’ Compensation is designed to make payments rather quickly to help individuals recover, these payments also help while applicants are waiting for Social Security Disability approval. It can take up to 90 days for an initial SSDI application to be approved and, if denied again at reconsideration, an appeal can take up to an additional year or more to reach the hearing stage.

Importantly, receiving WC benefits does not impact your eligibility for SSDI. So you can apply for and receive both WC and SSDI at the same time.

Total Income from Both Programs Is Limited

Even though you may qualify for both WC and SSDI benefits, your total income from both sources cannot be more than 80% of your prior income.

If the total is more than 80% of your working income, the Social Security Administration will reduce your SSDI benefits so that the total of WC and SSDI is just under this threshold. When your WC payments end and you are still eligible for SSDI, you must notify the Social Security Administration and they will re-adjust your SSDI benefits.

Important note: if you are eligible for any private disability insurance or pension, these are not impacted when evaluating your total benefits against the 80% threshold.

Depending on your individual circumstances, it may be to your advantage to apply for one program before another. We can help to assess your individual situation so you receive the maximum amount of benefits.

We Can Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Application or Appeal

If you or a loved one has been denied Worker’s Compensation or Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, contact our experienced attorney, Kenton Koszdin, at the Kenton Koszdin Law Office in Van Nuys, CA. Call 800.438.7734 for your initial free consultation and we can help you navigate the application process for the best possible outcome for you and your family.

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