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Can You Receive Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability at the Same Time?

Can You Receive Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability at the Same Time?

We often discuss the complicated nature of obtaining various kinds of benefits here, but this article explores an instance where the answer is simple: as long as you qualify for both workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you can receive both of them concurrently. Keep in mind that they are two separate programs run by two different entities—Social Security Administration (SSA) runs the federal SSDI program, and workers’ compensation is state-run.

In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must, among other things, be injured on the job. If your injury or disabling condition is the result of an accident or illness that occurred outside of work hours, you will be ineligible for workers’ compensation, but you may qualify for SSDI benefits.

The requirements you must meet to be eligible for SSDI are strict and specific to your disabling conditions. Generally, you must be completely unable to perform any kind of work as a result of your disability for at least twelve consecutive months or suffer from a condition that is expected to result in your death. SSA does not award partial disability, so if you are disabled but still capable of working and earning a living at or above the substantial gainful activity level, you will not be awarded SSDI benefits.

Although you can receive both types of benefits, there is a limit to how much money you can collect from each program at the same time. As a general rule, you cannot receive more than 80% of your average earnings between both workers’ compensation and SSDI. In New York State specifically, the Workers’ Compensation Board reduces its benefit amount until you reach the limit rather than requiring SSA to reduce its benefits.

If you think you are eligible for both programs, you may wonder when is the appropriate time to apply for them. Workers’ compensation was designed to be a temporary program that would provide a source of income for workers injured on the job while they healed or waited to be awarded SSDI benefits. You should contact your human resources department at work as soon as you are able to after an at-work injury occurs and initiate the process.

It can take much longer to be approved for SSDI benefits, so you are encouraged to begin that process if a physician treating you for your disabling condition believes that it will keep you completely unable to work for at least twelve months. Receiving workers’ compensation will not disqualify you from being approved or negatively affect your ability to qualify for SSDI benefits.