Injured on the Job? Learn How SSDI and Workers’ Comp Impact Your Case
We all need to work to earn a living, but earning a living shouldn’t have to mean jeopardizing your personal health and safety. Unfortunately, far too many people every year are injured on the job and not only do the victims have an injury to deal with, they also face losing income by taking time off from work to recover. Programs like workers’ compensation and social security disability (SSDI) can help people who have been injured on the job, but how do they impact your case?
In many cases, compensation for workplace injuries are handled through workers’ compensation. The workers’ comp system was created to help injured workers quickly get medical treatment they need and help compensate for lost income without having to deal with a long, drawn-out lawsuit. Each state’s workers’ comp system is a little bit different, but all states have a “no fault” system, which means that injured workers can make a claim regardless if the employer was negligent or not.
However, if you are covered by workers’ compensation, that generally means that you can’t file a personal injury lawsuit directly against your employer, unless the employer intentionally hurt you or doesn’t have adequate workers’ comp insurance. A lawsuit could also be filed against a third party if, for example, you were injured by a defective piece of equipment.
Many types of workers aren’t covered by the workers’ comp system, such as volunteers, independent contractors, part-time domestic workers, taxi drivers, and some agricultural workers. If your occupation is not covered by workers’ comp, you would be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. Federal employees, railroad workers, and longshoremen may be able to get benefits through programs that are different from standard workers’ comp.
If your injury is going to prevent you from being able to work for an extended amount of time, at least a year, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits. It is possible to collect both workers’ comp and SSDI benefits at the same time, but it’s important to remember that they are very different programs and just because you qualify for workers’ comp, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll qualify for SSDI. Qualifying for SSDI can be difficult under any circumstance. But if you do qualify for both programs, keep in mind that both benefits combined cannot total more than 80% of your average income. So for example, if you were to qualify for both types of benefits and eventually stopped getting workers’ comp, the amount of SSDI benefits you get would adjust accordingly.
Regardless of which types of benefits you’re considering making a claim for, it’s important to talk to a workplace injury attorney first. Applying for SSDI benefits is notoriously difficult and the vast majority of all applications are denied on the first attempt. If you’re making a workers’ comp claim, a lawyer will be able to help make sure your case is handled correctly and will be able to answer any questions you might have about whether or not you need to go through workers’ comp or file a lawsuit.