If You Can't Get Workers' Comp, Can You Get SSDI?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 14, 2015 12:58 PM

You're hurt and out of work, so who should compensate you? While they both aim to provide income for people too hurt to work, workers' compensation insurance and Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) function a little bit differently.

So if your workers' compensation claim is denied, can you receive SSDI benefits instead? The answer may depend on if you're filing for benefits from the state or federal government.

Where Were You Hurt?

Both workers' compensation and disability benefits are legally mandated programs aimed to cover your expenses if you're too injured to work. While state disability benefits are designed to cover non-work-related injuries and illnesses, workers' compensation benefits are funded by your employer and are specifically for on-the-job injuries. As such, you are probably ineligible for state benefits if you're hurt at work, even if workers' comp doesn't cover your injury.

That said, there are some cases where disability benefits may apply to work-related injuries. If state disability benefits are more substantial than workers' compensation benefits for which you are eligible, or if your employer is disputing your workers' comp claim, you may be eligible for state disability benefits.

How Long Will You Miss Work?

Another crucial difference is the classification of injury. Workers' comp covers temporary injuries, from which you are expected to return to your previous employment within a year. On the other hand, in order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must have a physical or medical condition that has lasted or is expected to last for more than 12 months, and prevents you from doing any kind of work.

It is possible to receive both workers' compensation and SSDI benefits if you are expected to be disabled for over a year or have a terminal illness. Generally, your SSDI benefits will be reduced, depending on how much you are receiving from workers' comp.

If your worker's compensation claim is denied outright and you have a disability that will keep you from working for over a year, you may be eligible for either state or federal disability benefits. To find out if you're covered, you may want to talk to an experienced workers' comp attorney.

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