Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can help workers who have been injured on the job and are no longer able to work for a living. California’s workers’ compensation benefits can do something similar for injured workers.
Can you collect benefits from SSDI and workers’ compensation at the same time?
The answer is yes, but there is a catch. Your total amount of benefits will be reduced.
Workers’ compensation permanent disability benefits
California’s workers’ compensation system provides benefits for workers who have been injured on the job. Typically, these benefits cover medical costs related to the injury.
If the injury is serious enough that the worker can’t work at all for an extended period, workers’ compensation can provide temporary disability benefits. These will help the worker with their expenses until they are able to return to work.
In some severe cases, workers’ compensation can provide permanent disability benefits to help a worker whose on-the-job injury has left them permanently unable to work. These are based on a percentage of the workers’ pay before the injury. The amount of benefits is typically significantly lower than what the worker made before the injury.
SSDI benefits offset
SSDI is designed to provide benefits for eligible workers who are no longer able to work for a living. The Social Security Administration distributes these benefits in regular payments based on a percentage of the worker’s earnings before the injury.
As with workers’ compensation permanent disability benefits, SSDI benefits typically fall short of what the worker was bringing home before the injury. Fortunately, some people who receive SSDI benefits can supplement their income with benefits from private insurance, pensions or other private sources.
This isn’t the case with public benefits. If you are receiving SSDI benefits as well as benefits from public programs such as workers’ compensation, your SSDI benefits will likely be reduced. In total, the amount you receive in public benefits cannot exceed 80% of the pay you received before your injury.’
There are certain exceptions. Veterans’ Administration benefits will not offset your SSDI benefits. Certain state and local benefits may also be exempt, depending on how Social Security taxes were withheld from your paycheck. Supplemental Security Income benefits also do not count against your SSDI benefit amount.
To get the benefits you need, you will have to go through layers of bureaucracy, and you’ll have to abide by a dizzying number of rules. There are a lot of areas where you can get tripped up. Many SSDI applicants find the help of an experienced attorney to be invaluable.