Can You Get Workers’ Comp and Disability?

Can You Get Workers’ Comp and Disability?

You may claim workers’ comp and disability benefits if you are an eligible employee that was injured while performing job duties. You may be able to get disability benefits in addition to other workers’ comp benefits if your workplace injury was disabling. Knowing what types of benefits you can claim concurrently can help you eliminate the financial burden of sustaining a workplace injury. Employees at risk of sustaining an injury should know how to recover workers’ compensation, what disability benefits are, and what impact Social Security disability insurance would have on a workers’ comp case.

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Workers’ compensation is an insurance program available to workers in Illinois. This insurance is carried by the employer on behalf of employees. When a workplace injury occurs, employees can recover costs through workers’ comp insurance. However, the workers’ compensation program replaces the injured party’s right to sue for an injury accident in the workplace. 

Disability benefits can be provided through workers’ compensation, or they can be paid out through the Social Security disability program. When operating under workers’ comp, these benefits are given by an employer to an employee who suffers from a temporary or permanent disability due to a work injury. Social Security disability insurance, on the other hand, offers financial support to victims whose injuries or other ailments will affect their ability to earn a living for 12 months or longer.

The impact of a workers’ compensation settlement on Social Security disability benefits can be significant. Workers’ compensation settlements can reduce Social Security disability benefits if the two resources make up more than 80% of your monthly earnings when combined. If your benefits meet this threshold, your SSDI payments will be reduced. 

What Is Workers’ Compensation? 

If you’re an employee who has been injured on the job while performing normal work-related duties, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation allows eligible Illinois employees to recover financial compensation for the injuries and harm they experienced while working.

Employers provide workers’ comp benefits to employees who have been injured on the job, while states monitor and administer workers’ comp programs across the country. State by state, there may be different requirements on what injuries count as compensable, and what benefits injured employees can recover from those injuries. 

Understanding the Illinois workers’ comp program can help you better understand what rights you have as an employee and what program benefits you are entitled to recover to offset the cost of your workplace injuries. Workers’ compensation lawyers are experienced in working with injured employees and helping them navigate the different benefit systems available to them. 

What Disability Benefits Are Available Through Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation benefits cover the costs associated with sustaining a workplace injury. In some cases, this can include temporary or permanent disability benefits intended to replace a worker’s lost wages. There are four types of wage replacement benefits under the workers’ compensation program:

Temporary Partial Disability Benefits

When an injured victim’s working capacity is temporarily reduced after a workplace injury, he or she qualifies for temporary partial disability benefits. These benefits compensate workers for the difference between their previous earning capacity and their current earning capacity. While receiving TPD benefits, workers can typically remain employed by performing lighter-duty tasks, without reducing their take-home pay.

Temporary Total Disability Benefits

When a victim’s working capacity is completely eliminated during recovery from a workplace injury, he or she qualifies for temporary total disability benefits. These benefits compensate victims for their lost wages when they are unable to work entirely, but only for a short period of time. When a victim qualifies for TTD benefits, he or she will eventually recover and return to work at full capacity.

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

Victims whose working capacity is permanently reduced after a work injury will qualify for permanent partial disability benefits. These benefits compensate victims for the difference between their previous earnings and their new, reduced earnings long term. When victims qualify for PPD benefits, they will likely never return to work in their previous capacity. In some cases, these victims must permanently reduce their working hours or take a lower paying job that doesn’t aggravate their disability.

Permanent Total Disability Benefits

Victims whose workplace injuries render them permanently unable to work can recover permanent total disability benefits. These benefits replace a victim’s previous earnings long-term. When a victim qualifies for PTD benefits, he or she is likely to never return to work.

Reach out to a workers’ comp lawyer to help you understand your recovery options. It may be beneficial to know the typical timeline of a workers’ compensation claim when preparing to file your case. 

What Are Social Security Disability Benefits?

Social Security disability insurance is separate from workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensations benefits do include disability-related benefits, but they are different from what is available under Social Security disability insurance. Workers’ compensation allows injured employees to recover benefits for temporary or permanent disability sustained from workplace injuries. It applies at the time a person becomes an employee, but only to injuries that were caused by the workplace in the process of performing job-related duties. 

Social Security benefits are provided to people with disabilities who have maintained a sufficient work history and have a disability that impairs them from earning a living. Social Security benefits can be provided to people in the form of payments to replace the wages they are unable to earn. Under SSDI benefits, the disability does not need to have been a result of workplace injuries. The claimant can suffer from any number of qualifying disabling conditions.

Who Qualifies for SSDI Benefits?

Anyone suffering from a qualifying condition included on the Social Security listing of impairments for more than a year can qualify for SSDI benefits, as long as he or she has met work credit requirements. To claim SSDI benefits, applicants must meet the following guidelines:

  • The claimant’s condition prevents him or her from performing substantial gainful activity.
  • The claimant can not work in his or her previous capacity, or can not adjust to working in a lower-impact position.
  • The condition has lasted, or is expected to last at least 12 months, or will result in the claimant’s death.
  • The claimant must have earned sufficient work credits. Work credits are earned based on an individual’s yearly earnings. Workers can only earn up to 4 credits a year, and a person’s work credit requirements will vary based on his or her age.

How Much Are SSDI Benefits?

A disability claimant can only receive up to $3,627 per month in SSDI benefits. A claimant’s family can recover from 150% to 180% of his or her benefit award. An individual’s SSDI benefits are calculated based on his or her earnings from his or her qualifying work history.

In some cases, an injured worker may qualify for a workers’ compensation settlement and Social Security disability benefits. However, their SSDI benefit amount will be offset by the value of his or her settlement award.

What Is the Impact of SSDI on Workers’ Compensation?

SSDI benefits will not impact your workers’ compensation settlement. However, your workers’ compensation benefits may impact your SSDI benefits if the combination of the two exceeds 80% of your average current earnings. The impact of having social security insurance benefits and workers’ compensation benefits can be significant, since Social Security benefits may be reduced by the application of workers’ compensation benefits to meet federal requirements. 

How Does Social Security Calculate the Offset of Workers’ Compensation?

There are many factors that are taken into consideration when calculating the offset of a person’s disability insurance benefits. First, Social Security takes the disabled workers’ average current earnings into consideration, which is the average monthly wage the worker earns. Then, a limit is established based on the claimant’s monthly income. Injured workers getting both SSDI and workers’ compensation benefits can not claim benefits exceeding 80% of their average monthly earnings. If a worker’s monthly benefit income exceeds this threshold, Social Security will reduce his or her benefits until the 80% threshold is met.

For example, if a worker earning $5,000 per month sustains a disability in a workplace accident, he or she will likely receive a workers’ compensation settlement. Part of this settlement will be intended to replace the wages he or she previously received. This payout may be temporary or permanent, depending on the worker’s injuries. If the workers’ compensation wage replacement benefits are $2300, and the injured worker receives $2000 in disability benefits, he or she would be receiving a total of $3,000 in monthly benefits. This exceeds the $4,000 threshold (80%), and the claimant’s Social Security benefits would subsequently be reduced to $1700 per month to yield a total value of $4,000 in monthly benefits.

Social Security will continue to do this offset reduction with workers compensation until the disabled worker reaches the retirement age of 65, when the victims qualify to receive social security retirement benefits instead.

author-bio-image author-bio-image
David W. Martay

David W. Martay, a partner at Martay Law Office in Chicago, IL, is a top-rated workers’ compensation lawyer who represents injured employees throughout the state. Known as a highly-skilled advocate for his clients, David has recovered millions for victims of workplace accidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active

Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association

author-bio-image author-bio-image
David W. Martay

David W. Martay, a partner at Martay Law Office in Chicago, IL, is a top-rated workers’ compensation lawyer who represents injured employees throughout the state. Known as a highly-skilled advocate for his clients, David has recovered millions for victims of workplace accidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active

Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association