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Workers’ Comp & SSDI Eligibility: Am I eligible for SSDI with a workers’ compensation claim?

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a complicated system operating on labyrinthine rules with plenty of pitfalls that can ruin eligibility. People who expect to rely on SSDI are right to be concerned about anything that might jeopardize their eligibility. Clients who are injured on the job, for example, may be concerned that accepting workers’ compensation benefits could adversely affect their ability to collect SSDI. Below, we discuss how workers’ comp benefits can affect SSDI eligibility. Speak with a knowledgeable California social security disability insurance lawyer for help understanding and improving your eligibility for SSDI or for other help obtaining disability coverage.

You Can Collect Both SSDI and Workers’ Comp

To alleviate the biggest concern: Yes, you can collect both SSDI and workers’ compensation. SSDI is a federal program run by the Social Security Administration (SSA), while workers’ comp is a state-run program. They are separate programs that are not dependent on one another. Qualifying for one has nothing to do with qualifying for the other. Qualifying for workers’ comp is dependent upon showing that the applicant was injured at the workplace, and securing disability benefits under workers’ comp requires only that the worker cannot perform the job they had when they were disabled.

Qualifying for SSDI, on the other hand, requires demonstrating complete disability. Because the standards are so different and the systems separate, qualifying for workers’ comp is not necessarily helpful for collecting SSDI benefits, but it will not act as an automatic disqualifier. The two programs may, however, interact in terms of benefits.

Workers’ Comp Benefits Can Offset SSDI Benefits

SSDI sets certain limits on the total amount of benefits you may collect as a result of your disability. If you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits as well as SSDI, the total amount you can collect will be limited by SSDI rules. As a general rule of thumb for most workers, SSDI will not allow you to exceed 80 percent of your original earnings while collecting SSDI. So, whatever amount of SSDI you are entitled to collect will be offset by your workers’ comp benefits such that your combined earnings will not exceed 80 percent of your previous wages.

For example: If you were earning $5,000 a month before you were disabled, the maximum benefits you would be able to receive through SSDI would be 80 percent of $5,000, which equals $4,000. If you are already receiving $3,000 in workers’ compensation, then you would be eligible, at most, for an additional $1,000 in SSDI. If your SSDI benefits are higher than $1,000, they will be offset down to $1,000. Once your workers’ comp benefits end, however, you can increase your SSDI benefits back up to the normal amount.

The offset only applies to public workers’ comp benefits. Private disability insurance and pension payments do not affect SSDI benefits, so even if your combined private insurance benefits and SSDI equal more than 80 percent of your prior income, there will be no SSDI offset.

Get Help Pursuing a California Disability Claim Today

For help obtaining disability benefits in southern California or statewide, call the seasoned and effective Social Security Disability (SSD/SSI) attorneys Drake & Drake at 818-624-4695.

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Drake & Drake, P.C., is located in Calabasas, CA and serves clients in and around Woodland Hills, Wilmington, Harbor City, Carson, Torrance, San Pedro, Long Beach, Compton, Gardena, Paramount, Lynwood, Bellflower, South Gate, Los Angeles, Hawaiian Gardens, Artesia, Huntington Park, Cerritos, Bell, Norwalk, Maywood, Santa Fe Springs, Pico Rivera, Whittier and Los Angeles County.

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