When a worker is permanently disabled by a work situation, it is possible to receive both workers' compensation benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits after a work injury. However, it's important to note that the total amount of benefits you receive from both sources may be subject to certain limitations to avoid "double-dipping" or receiving duplicative benefits that exceed your actual lost income.
Key points to consider:
- Eligibility Requirements: Workers' compensation benefits are provided by state workers' compensation programs and are available to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. On the other hand, SSDI benefits are provided by the federal Social Security Administration (SSA) and are available to individuals who have a qualifying disability that prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity and meets other eligibility criteria.
- Coordination of Benefits: When you receive workers' compensation and SSDI benefits concurrently, the total amount of benefits you receive cannot exceed a certain percentage of your average pre-disability earnings. This is known as the "offset" or "coordination of benefits" rule. The specific calculation and rules vary depending on the jurisdiction and the disability benefit programs involved.
- Workers' Compensation Offset: In most cases, workers' compensation benefits are offset by the amount of SSDI benefits you receive. This means that your workers' compensation benefits may be reduced or "offset" by the amount of SSDI benefits you are eligible to receive. The purpose is to prevent an individual from receiving more than a certain percentage of their pre-disability income through combined benefits.
- Reduction in SSDI Benefits: In some cases, if the combined amount of workers' compensation and SSDI benefits exceeds a certain threshold, your SSDI benefits may be reduced to maintain the total benefits within the allowed limit.
- Medicare and Medicaid: If you receive SSDI benefits, you may also become eligible for Medicare after a certain waiting period. Medicare can provide healthcare coverage for individuals with disabilities. However, workers' compensation may also cover medical expenses related to your work injury. Coordination of benefits may be necessary to ensure appropriate coverage.
It's important to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through the process of receiving both workers' compensation and SSDI benefits. They can help you understand the specific rules and limitations that apply in your jurisdiction, maximize your benefits, and ensure compliance with applicable regulations. Speak to a workers' compensation attorney to learn more about the benefits that you may deserve.