While you must have suffered an injury or developed an illness in the workplace to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) regardless of the cause of your condition. Each state has its own terms and processes for workers’ compensation benefits, while the federal government runs the SSDI program. Despite the primary differences between workers’ compensation and disability, the two serve a similar purpose.
If you have suffered an injury at work, California law holds your employer responsible for providing you with related medical care expenses and, in some circumstances, disability benefits. Because SSDI benefits individuals whose disabilities limit their earning potential, you may qualify for this type of compensation, as well. Particularly in complicated workplace injury cases, a lawyer can help you determine the benefits you may qualify for and pursue sufficient payments for your financial losses.
The Basics of Workers’ Compensation
The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) states that if you get hurt on the job, your employer must pay for your medical expenses through workers’ compensation insurance. Even if your employer does not hold responsibility for causing your injury, they have an obligation to provide payment for your medical care. You may qualify for workers’ compensation if:
- You suffered an injury at work as the result of a one-time injury
- Repeated actions required for your job, such as lifting, caused an injury
- You developed an illness as the result of toxic chemical exposure in the workplace
You may also qualify for disability benefits if your injury prevents you from returning to work quickly.
Temporary Disability Benefits
California employers must provide temporary disability (TD) benefits to their employees if their occupational injury or illness restricts their ability to do their regular jobs. You may qualify for TD benefits if you had to miss more than three days of work as a result of your injury or you had to stay overnight at a hospital, and your employer does not offer you a modified position with the same pay during your recovery.
Some workers’ compensation disability claims involve temporary cases, which include temporary total disability (TTD) and temporary partial disability (TPD). The amounts that you can receive depend on your circumstances and your TD classification, which your doctor assigns you based on your ability to work. TTD beneficiaries can receive two-thirds of their total wages, while TPD beneficiaries, who often work lower-paying positions during recovery, can receive up to two-thirds of the difference between their usual pay and their decreased wages.
You can receive TTD or TPD payments until a doctor deems you recovered and able to return to your original position or for no more than 104 weeks in a five-year period. In instances involving chronic illness, you may receive TD benefits for up to 240 weeks.
Permanent Disability Benefits
If your doctor concludes that you will never recover from your workplace injury or your condition will never allow you to return to your previous job, you may receive permanent disability (PD) benefits. Workers’ compensation provides PD benefits for a lifetime, but amounts vary depending on the degree of your disability. One-hundred percent disability ratings, which rarely occur, may qualify the victim for higher payments than those who have partial permanent disabilities.
However, you can continue to earn an income and receive PD benefits simultaneously, and you do not pay taxes on workers’ compensation benefits. Recipients of PD benefits may have the option to select weekly payments or a lump sum. If you choose to settle for a one-time payment, a lawyer can evaluate your condition and help you pursue an adequate total for your financial losses.
How Social Security Disability Works
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two types of disability assistance to affected individuals and their families. SSDI benefits those who have worked long enough and recently enough and paid Social Security taxes on their income, but whose disability prevents them from making a sufficient living. Supplemental Security Income (SSI), on the other hand, benefits individuals who have restricted income and resources due to their disability, regardless of their work experience.
Some individuals qualify for both SSDI and SSI, and in certain instances, they can also receive workers’ compensation benefits. Social Security benefits continue for as long as the recipient maintains their condition and cannot work. If a recipient makes over a certain amount per year during the course of employment, they can no longer receive Social Security benefits.
A Lawyer Can Help You with Your Workplace Injury Case
A lawyer may recommend that you file for workers’ compensation first. If the benefits you qualify for do not provide adequate coverage for your financial losses or your employer denies or delays your workers’ compensation claim, you may wish to apply for SSDI for supplemental income.
Despite the differences between workers’ compensation and disability, both can be beneficial in workplace injury cases. Navigating the claims process for each, however, can present a challenge. If you have suffered an occupational injury, the lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you seek fair compensation. Contact our legal team today at (800) 529-9122 to discuss your case.