injured worker assessing injury

Ask the Attorney: Can you receive workers’ compensation and SSDI at the same time?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Those who have been injured at work and, as a result, unable to work can find themselves in a really difficult financial situation. With the added pressure of incoming medical bills and lack of income, the financial strain can feel unbearable. Fortunately, there may be a few different benefit options a person in this position may be able to pursue to help keep them financially afloat during this difficult time. There may be, for instance, workers’ compensation benefits available. 

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program an employer participates in. An employer purchases workers’ compensation protection to help cover the expenses associated with workers who get injured at work. Additionally, or alternatively, there is the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits program administered through the Social Security Administration (SSA) under which an injured worker may qualify for benefit payments. This will naturally lead to the question of whether a worker can receive workers’ compensation and SSDI benefits at the same time. In this article, we will explore these different types of compensation and share a warning about the maximum amount of allowed benefits.

Is it possible to receive workers’ compensation and SSDI at the same time?

Yes, you can receive workers’ compensation and SSDI at the same time. If you are receiving workers’ compensation and it looks as though you will be unable to work for at least a year, then it often makes sense to go ahead and apply for SSDI. You will, of course, need to qualify under both programs to receive benefits.

As noted above, workers’ compensation is an insurance program an employer pays into in order to have protection in the event that someone gets injured at work. While the injury does not necessarily have to be the result of performing one of your work duties, the injury does need to occur while you are at work in order for you to be eligible for coverage. Under certain circumstances, if you are traveling for work, you may also be eligible for coverage. Alternatively, SSDI is a federal program administered by the SSA in order to provide financial support to disabled individuals who have a qualifying work history. In other words, they have a history of paying into the Social Security system either through their own employment or via a family member such as a spouse or parent.

If you meet the eligibility requirements for both, it is possible to receive both SSDI and workers’ compensation payments at the same time. There will, however, be some impact on the amount included in the payments you are eligible to receive. If you are receiving workers’ compensation, the SSA will set a limit on what you can receive in terms of your monthly SSDI payment. If you are receiving both workers’ compensation and SSDI, the total amount of benefits you receive cannot be more than 80% of your average current earnings prior to becoming disabled. 

The SSA will determine your average current earnings when you apply for SSDI benefits. If you are receiving workers’ compensation payments, then your SSDI benefits may be reduced in order to account for the 80% limit. Thus, workers’ compensation payments will impact SSDI payments, but it is never the other way around. If you were to stop receiving workers’ compensation or experience a reduction in workers’ compensation payments, you should be sure to let the SSA know so that they can check and possibly recalculate your SSDI payments accordingly.

Los Angeles Social Security Disability Attorney

Juggling multiple benefit programs and applications can be overwhelming. Fortunately, the team at Disability Advocates is here to help you navigate all of this. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.