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Can construction workers receive workers' compensation and disability benefits?

Construction employees work around hazards such as tall heights, heavy equipment, and sharp tools. When accidents happen the injuries can be worse than in most professions. These injuries will have a major impact on daily life and can last a long time. When employees see that their workers' compensation benefits are not what they need then many ask, "Can I get both workers' compensation and disability benefits?"

The answer is not so straightforward. First of all it is important to understand the difference between the two types of benefits. Workers' compensation claims cover temporary workplace injuries. Disability benefits or SSDI are run by the Social Security Administration and cover long-term non-work related injuries. In most cases you will not receive both at the same time but there are exceptions.

It is rare but not impossible: Requirements for receiving both benefits

The requirements for each program are different. First of all in order to receive workers' compensation you will need to file a claim and prove that you were injured on site or had a preexisting condition which was exacerbated by your working conditions.

In order to receive additional disability benefits you can qualify with one of the following:

  • If workers' compensation benefits are delayed then disability benefits could cover that time before workers' compensation kicks in
  • If workers' compensation benefits are lower than your disability benefits then SSDI could cover the difference
  • If a workers' compensation claim is denied

Another major aspect to consider is how long your injury will prevent you from going back to work. Workers' compensation is supposed to be temporary. You are expected to return to work within a year. Therefore if you have a long-term disability that lasts longer than 12 months then you receive both workers' compensation and disability benefits.

In order to qualify for SSDI, then you must be completely disabled. In other words a physician must agree that now:

  • You cannot do any of work that you have done in the past
  • You cannot do any meaningful work in any field in which you could be reasonably trained
  • Your disability will last longer than a year

If you do receive both workers' compensation and disability there are limits to how much you can receive. The combined amount of workers' compensation and disability benefits cannot be more than 80% of your previous earnings. If your benefits exceed this amount then the remaining money will be deducted by from the disability payments.

It is common that injured construction workers do not receive what they need to cover their injury. In these cases an attorney can help you build the best case to get the claim you deserve. Make sure to contact an attorney who is experienced in workers' compensation right away.

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