What is the relationship between workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security Disability benefits?
First of all, it’s important to remember that the two types of benefits come from two quite different systems. Workers’ compensation is generally a state-by-state program, funded by employers who pay insurance premiums. Pennsylvania, therefore, had its own work comp claims process, just as other states do.
Social Security Disability benefits, by contrast, are based on federal law, not state law. They are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which of course is based in Washington, DC.
The basic purpose of the two types of benefits is also different. Workers’ compensation benefits are intended to help injured workers’ get back on their feet financially so they can return to work. SSD benefits, however, are designed to apply when someone has, as the SSA puts it, “disabling medical conditions that are not job-related.”
Despite the differences between the two systems, there are also areas of overlap. In particular, it is important to be aware that workers’ compensation benefits can sometimes reduce Social Security Disability payments. Other public disability payments, such as civil service disability benefits, can also have this effect.
Is it possible to receive both workers’ compensation and SSD? The answer is sometimes yes, with one significant limitation. As the SSA explains, the total amount of the benefits cannot be more than 80 percent of someone’s average current earnings before becoming disabled.
To summarize, then, the relationship between workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability can sometimes be difficult to understand. An attorney experienced in these areas can explain what the options are in your specific case.