The Difference Between Social Security Disability Benefits & Workers' Compensation

Social security is a government-funded program for disabled workers, and it doesn’t cost anything to be eligible to receive it, but you do need to have a certain amount of time spent working in order to be eligible. SSDI is what we call an “entitlement” program, which means you pay into it as a tax while you are working and it’s there if you need to use it. You also receive it for as long as you’re disabled, but it will be converted at retirement age to Social Security retirement.

Usually, you don't need a lawyer to apply for social security and can do the initial application online.  If your claim is denied, that's typically when you need to get a lawyer.
On the other hand, workers' compensation is benefits provided to workers who are injured on the job or have a work-related illness. These benefits are intended to help the injured worker pay for medical treatment to treat the injury and as a supplemental income to partially replace lost wages. Temporary total disability benefits are paid while the worker recuperates away from work. If the condition has lasting consequences after the worker heals, permanent disability benefits may be paid. In the case of a fatality, the worker's dependents receive survivor benefits
Many workers comp insurance companies will start by paying benefits and medical treatment at first, but they can deny your claim at any time for virtually any reason. Unlike in some states, there is nothing that requires the workers comp insurance company to pay your benefits after you get hurt at work and file your claim for workers compensation.  You have to continually prove you are entitled to those benefits. This is why it's important to speak to an experienced D.C. workers compensation attorney. 

Understanding Social Security Offsets While On Workers' Compensation

With a serious work injury that prevents you from working for more than 1 year, you may be eligible for both workers compensation benefits and social security disability. Workers who have a permanent injury that will prevent them from working for many years are often awarded social security disability as well.

In order to receive workers' compensation benefits, you have to prove your work injury prevents you from working.  Social security looks at the whole person - all of the person's medical conditions or injuries.

There is an offset, however.  That means that social security benefits will be reduced to take into account the workers compensation benefits you are getting after an on the job injury.  Currently, the Social Security Administration uses a formula to determine the offset, or reduction, in the amount they pay.  

It's important to know that the workers comp benefits are not reduced.  Also, once the workers compensation case settles, you have the ability to reduce the amount of the social security offset, so your social security benefits should go up.

Also, a lot of our clients tell us they applied for social security, got denied and had to appeal.  It seems most people are awarded social security after an appeal and hearing.

Speak To An Experienced Injury And Disability Lawyer Today

This is a complicated process and it can be very easy to make mistakes without the right information. Our clients work with one of the most experienced D.C. worker’s compensation and trial attorneys in the DMV, who literally wrote the book on D.C. Worker’s Compensation. Avoid costly mistakes that could cost you thousands of dollars every week by calling us today at 202-393-3320. 

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer