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How does workers’ comp relate to Social Security disability?

In our previous post, we noted that disability benefits are among the several types of workers’ compensation benefits that are available to eligible employees.

There are, however, several different types of disability within the workers’ comp system. And there are also disability benefits that are available in some cases under Social Security disability law.

In this post, we will discuss these different types of disability.

Within the workers’ compensation system, there are four types of disability benefits. They are based on whether the disability is temporary or permanent and whether it is partial or total.

Two of the possibilities, then are:
• Temporary partial disability
• Temporary total disability

The other two possibilities are:
• Permanent partial disability
• Permanent total disability

The weekly amount paid under workers’ comp for permanent total disability does not differ from the weekly amount for temporary total disability. In both cases, the benefit is defined as two-thirds of your average weekly wages. Please see our page on permanent total disability for more information.

Keep in mind, however, that if you apply for and receive Social Security disability (SSD) benefits, the issue of weekly benefit amounts becomes more complicated.

It’s true that people can sometimes receive both workers’ comp and SSD. But the combined benefits can’t exceed 80 percent of your average weekly earnings before the disability.

This means that if you are receiving both workers’ comp and SSD, the benefits under either program could be reduced so that the total amount you receive doesn’t go above 80 percent of what you were earning per week before you were injured.

Would it be the workers’ comp that is reduced or the SSD benefits? If you are facing that issue, it makes sense to talk with an attorney to discuss your specific situation.

Source: SSA.gov, “How Workers’ Compensation And Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits,” Accessed March 21, 2014

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