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Can I Get Both Workers’ Comp and Social Security Disability?

Can I Get Both Workers’ Comp and Social Security Disability?

Did you suffer a workplace injury that left you with a long-term or permanent disability? If so, you may be wondering whether it’s possible to get money from a workers’ comp claim and a Social Security Disability (SSD) claim at the same time.

In short, it’s possible to claim both. But these benefits are distributed by two separate programs, and navigating them on your own can be a challenge. If you believe you qualify for Social Security Disability and workers’ comp benefits, you should speak with a knowledgeable disability lawyer as soon as possible.

At Matt Fendon Law Group, our workers’ compensation and SSD attorneys are committed to helping you claim the full benefits you deserve if you are too hurt to work. Contact us today to learn your legal options in a free consultation.

The Difference Between Workers’ Comp and Social Security Disability

Workers’ compensation is a state insurance program requiring most employers to cover certain costs when qualifying employees sustain work-related injuries. In Arizona, employers with one or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Workers’ comp benefits cover medical bills, a portion of an employee’s lost wages, and provide disability benefits until injured employees can return to work. These benefits are available regardless of who was at fault, and eligible employees can typically claim money within weeks.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits come from a federal program funded through payroll taxes. SSDI benefits are designed to replace lost wages when workers become disabled and can’t work. Disabled individuals can only claim SSDI benefits if they can prove specific criteria, including a minimum number of “work credits” and a qualifying medical condition.

If you suffer an on-the-job injury that qualifies you for both workers’ comp benefits and SSDI payments, you can collect both. However, each program has different eligibility requirements, and receiving benefits from one program can impact how much you receive from the other.

Do I Qualify for Workers’ Comp in Arizona?

To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Arizona, you must be able to answer “yes” to each of the following questions:

  • Do you work for an employer who is required to provide workers’ comp coverage under Arizona law? Most employers in the state with one or more regular employees must provide this coverage.
  • Are you an employee of the company? You are likely not covered if you are an independent contractor, a domestic employee, or an unpaid volunteer.
  • Was your injury work-related? If you were injured while performing job-related duties on company time and in the workplace, proving this should be simple. However, things can get complicated if you were off-site or engaged in non-work activities when you were injured.

Do I Qualify for Disability Benefits?

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must be able to prove that you have:

  • A minimum number of work credits – You must demonstrate that you worked long enough and recently enough to accumulate Social Security work credits. The required number of work credits depends on how old you are when you develop the disability. Older workers typically need more credits.
  • A qualifying medical condition – The Social Security Administration (SSA) will only provide benefits to individuals with long-term or permanent disabilities. The SSA’s definition of a qualifying disability is one that prevents you from performing any work or engaging in a substantial gainful activity. You must also demonstrate that your condition has lasted for at least one year, is expected to last for at least one year, or is expected to result in your death.

How is the SSDI Work Credits System Set Up?

The amount of time you must work to earn qualifying work credits can vary from year to year. The most you can earn is four credits per year.

The total number of credits you need to qualify for SSDI benefits may vary depending on your age. Most workers need proof of at least 40 credits, at least 20 of which must have been accumulated within the past 10 years before you sustained the disability. However, if you are a relatively young worker, you may be able to qualify with fewer credits.

If you are a surviving spouse, child, or other dependent of a worker who died on the job, you may be eligible for survivors benefits. You can provide proof of your deceased loved one’s work history to qualify.

How Workers’ Comp Can Impact Social Security Disability Benefits

If you qualify for both workers’ comp benefits and disability benefits, you may be entitled to collect both. However, your workers’ comp payments could affect the amount of money you receive in disability benefits.

SSA regulations limit the amount of compensation you can receive in combination from both programs. The total value of your workers’ comp and disability benefits combined may not exceed 80 percent of the average income you earned before your medical condition began.

In some cases, you can claim the full amount of your SSDI benefits as you receive workers’ comp. However, if their combined value exceeds the 80 percent income cap, the SSA can reduce or “offset” your benefits until your income is below the threshold.

Should I Apply for Disability Benefits Before or After My Workers’ Compensation Settlement?

We typically recommend applying for SSDI after applying for workers’ compensation benefits. You can apply for both simultaneously, but your employer’s workers’ comp insurer will be less willing to settle fairly while an SSD claim is pending. You also have less time to file a workers’ comp claim in Arizona. The statute of limitations for a workers’ comp claim in Arizona is one year from the date of the injury. By contrast, most people have five years to file a disability claim.

With that said, it is a good idea to get an SSDI claim underway sooner rather than later. They can take years to resolve.

If you have questions about the best timeframe to file a workers’ comp and/or SSDI claim in Arizona, it’s wise to get advice from an experienced lawyer.

Contact an Arizona Workers’ Comp and Disability Lawyer Today

If you are seeking Social Security Disability and workers’ comp benefits in Arizona, don’t hesitate to reach out to the accomplished attorneys at Matt Fendon Law Group today. Our legal team will sit down with you and review your legal options in a free case review. Call or contact us now to get started.

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