Suffering a serious workplace injury can adversely affect the financial stability of a worker and his or her family. California workers might be unsure whether they are eligible for workers’ compensation or Social Security Disability Insurance, or both. While SSDI is a federal program, workers’ compensation insurance is a state-regulated system, each with its own requirements for eligibility.
Workers’ compensation typically provides temporary benefits while workers are recovering from injuries or occupational illnesses. In contrast, SSDI benefits are only paid to workers whose injuries prevent them from doing any work for 12 months or longer or a condition that is expected to cause the worker’s death. The Social Security Administration will not authorize claims for workers with partial disabilities.
In many cases, the SSDI claims process takes a long time before payments commence. Workers’ compensation benefits are often paid to injured workers during the waiting period until SSDI payments start. While workers’ compensation benefits are only paid if injuries or illnesses are work-related, victims of any injury or disease that causes total disability could qualify for Social Security disability benefits, including car accidents and other nonwork-related circumstances.
California workers who have questions about their options to secure benefits that will cover the financial consequences can speak to an attorney who has experience in both workers’ compensation and SSDI laws. Legal counsel can explain the requirements and eligibility, and suggest the most appropriate way to proceed. Injured workers can improve their chances of receiving maximum benefits under applicable laws with the support and guidance an experienced attorney.