Being disabled and out of work isn’t easy. Even if you managed to get a workers comp settlement, sometimes it just isn’t enough to make ends meet.
Because of that, you may find yourself asking “can I get disability after getting workers comp settlement?“
The short answer is, yes. It’s very much possible to get disability benefits after getting a workers comp as long as you qualify for both. In fact, it might be easier to claim disability if you’ve already qualified for workers comp as it’s proof that you can’t really work. However, your workers’ comp benefits may affect the disability amount you’re going to get.
Both types of benefits have different eligibility requirements too. So qualifying for workers comp doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll qualify for disability.
To understand your chances of being approved for disability after getting a workers comp settlement, we made this quick guide.
Disability Benefits vs. Workers Comp
Before we proceed further, it’s important to distinguish the difference between disability benefits and workers comp first.
Rules and Laws
Disability benefits are financial benefits for the disabled that are funded by the federal government. It’s administered by the Social Security Administration. Thus, the rules and regulations are similar no matter where you are in the country.
Workers compensation, on the other hand, is a financial benefit for injured workers. It’s administered on a state level so the rules and regulations can vary widely throughout the country.
Both disability and workers comp requires that your condition must prevent you from working.
But as mentioned, workers comp is designed for injured workers. Meaning, you must be employed at the time of your injury. Plus,
your disability must be caused by a work-related injury.
Meanwhile, disability benefits are available for anyone who can’t work because of their disability. It doesn’t matter if you got injured at work or off of it.
Getting Disability Benefits After a Settlement
As mentioned, claiming disability benefits might be easier if you’ve already received workers compensation settlement. That’s because receiving a settlement means that your injury really does prevent you from working.
But to be able to claim disability, you must meet the SSA’s other eligibility requirements first.
The SSA actually has two types of disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each of these has different eligibility requirements.
To qualify for SSDI:
- you must have enough work credits
- you can’t do the work you previously did or engage in any type of work or any substantial gainful activity
- your condition is expected to last for a year or result in death
If you’re not familiar with the term, work credits are the points or credits that you earn for paying social security taxes. Your required work credits will depend on your age. If you’re 24 and below, you must have at least 6 credits earned in the 3 years leading to your disability. This number goes up the older you are. For a full breakdown, you can visit the SSA site.
How Will Your Settlement Affect Your Disability Benefits?
Disability and workers comp benefits are only intended to help you make ends meet while you’re out of work. To prevent the system from being abused, the SSA implemented its offsetting policy.
Under this, the SSA adds together all public disability benefits you’ll get like workers comp to your SSDI benefit. The total amount must not exceed 80% of your average current earnings before you got disabled. If it does, the excess amount will be deducted from your disability benefits.
For instance, let’s say you were earning $1,000 a week before your disability. Meaning, your combined benefits should not exceed $800. If you’re receiving workers comp of $500 and SSDI of $600, you’re already beyond your average earnings. So, the SSA will deduct $300 from your SSDI ($1,100 – $800).
It doesn’t matter if you’ve received a lump sum settlement or are receiving continuous weekly payments, the offset rule will still apply. So you need to inform the SSA if you’ve received any lump sum settlements before applying for disability.
If you’re not sure whether you’ll qualify for both workers comp and disability benefits, Atty. Victor Malca can help you. He’s been helping injured workers in Florida fight for their rights for almost 30 years. He can help you get the benefits you deserve too. Call us now for a free consultation.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.