When you have suffered a workplace injury, you are obviously concerned about how you will pay your bills. Even when you qualify for workers comp benefits, you will not be making what you were earning before the injury.

Every dollar is important, especially when your workers’ compensation checks are limited to the average weekly wage in Illinois. Many people who have suffered serious injuries may try to receive both workers’ compensation and social security disability benefits.

They may wonder if they can receive more than one type of payment for their work injury or illness. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can guide you through the process and answer your questions about how to put yourself in the best financial situation when you are receiving benefits.

You May Get Workers Comp and SSDI Benefits at the Same Time Subject to Limitations

The simple answer is that you can receive workers’ compensation benefits at the same that you are receiving Social Security Disability Benefits. However, your payments would be subject to some limitations to prevent what could be considered a financial windfall for you.

Disability payments and workers’ compensation can both help you replace much of the income that you earned before you were hurt. Together, they can almost make up for everything that you were earning before your ability to work was compromised by your injuries.

However, the law also does not want you to get a windfall by being injured. If you ended up making more in workers’ compensation and disability benefits than you were earning before you were working, the benefit programs would have unintended consequences. Thus, Social Security laws and regulations place a limit on what you can receive.

You Can Collect Workers’ Compensation After a Workplace Injury

Workers’ compensation laws allow you to receive benefits after you have suffered a work-related injury. First, you must prove that you were injured and that your condition is related to your job (or a past job).

As an injured worker, if you are successfully able to show your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits, you would receive the following:

  • Two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to the amount of a statutory cap (which is the average weekly wage in the State of Illinois)
  • Reasonable medical costs to treat your injury

Some injured workers elect to receive their workers’ compensation benefits as a lump sum settlement, Their attorney would help them negotiate the settlement with the insurance company.

What Is Social Security Disability Insurance?

SSDI is a federal government payment under the Social Security Act. SSDI benefits are paid to those who:

  • Have a sufficient work history to qualify for benefits
  • You meet the medical qualifications for benefits

SSDI payments vary based on the state in which you live. In Illinois, the average monthly check is nearly $1,400. Everything depends on your earnings.

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

You must meet strict medical requirements to qualify for SSDI. The Social Security Administration requires that you meet all three of these tests:

  • You cannot do work and engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of your medical condition.
  • You cannot do work you did previously or adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
  • Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least 1 year or to result in death.

Thus, SSDI payments are for those who are totally disabled. It would mean that you have suffered either a temporary total disability that is expected to last for a prolonged period of time or a permanent total disability. The SSA is very stringent with the medical tests it uses, so your injury or illness must be serious.

The Social Security Administration Makes Disability Claims Difficult for You

It is not always easy to qualify for disability benefits. Even if you have received permanent disability benefits as part of your workers’ compensation claim, your application may still be rejected by the Social Security Administration.

The SSA makes the application process very difficult. A majority of people who apply for SSDI benefits have their applications rejected at first. Many will go through a long appeals process to have a chance at qualifying for benefits.

There are instances in which claimants will fight the SSA in court for years to receive benefits. Some do not even succeed at all after going through the process for years.

Still, the agency has a very strict standard. They will only approve an application if you can show that you cannot do work and engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of your medical condition. A very high workers’ compensation impairment rating could be an indicator that you have a compelling case for SSDI benefits.

This is not necessarily the same standard that you would need to meet to receive workers’ compensation. The SSA expects you to do some type of work if you have the ability, even if you are not able to do the work for which you have trained.

Limitations of Simultaneous Workers Compensation Benefits and Workers Compensation Benefits

While you may receive Social Security benefits and workers’ compensation payments at the same time, there is a limit on what you may be able to receive.

Receiving workers’ compensation would put a cap on the amount of SSDI benefits that you may be able to receive. The government does not way to pay benefits that would put you in a financial position equally as strong as the one you were in when you were hurt.

The combined benefits that you receive cannot exceed 80% of your average weekly wages before you were injured. If they do, the amount of disability benefits that you receive would be reduced until you are under that threshold. Nonetheless, the combined benefits would place you in a financial situation that is almost comparable to what you were in before you were hurt.

You would continue to receive your full workers comp payments. It would be your SSDI payments that are reduced to keep your combined benefits at 80% of your current income.

Lump Sum Workers’ Compensation Settlements and Social Security Disability Payments

If you take your workers’ compensation disability benefits in the form of a lump sum settlement, it will still impact your SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration will divide your lump sum payment by your monthly SSDI benefits to come up with a number of months.

Your SSDI payments will be suspended entirely for that number of months before they can resume. If your lump sum settlement includes money for legal and medical expenses, it is subtracted from the number that is divided by your SSDI benefits.

If your lump sum settlement payments were amortized over the rest of your working career, the weekly amount would be what is used to calculate the amount of your SSDI offset.

SSDI Benefits Convert to Retirement Benefits in the Future

When you reach full retirement age, your SSDI payments will actually become retirement benefits. At this point, there would be no restriction on receiving workers’ compensation payments and SSDI benefits at the same time.

If you are considering taking early retirement, you should consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer to learn more about whether and how your financial situation will be affected.

Contact an Attorney for a Free Consultation

To learn more about workers’ compensation programs, and how they may work in conjunction with SSDI benefits, contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer today.

The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can guide you through the workers’ comp process. We can help you negotiate a settlement of a workers’ compensation claim or appeal a claim that has been turned down by the insurance company.

To schedule your free consultation, you can send us a message online or call us today at (800) 424-5757. We work for you on a contingency basis, meaning you owe us nothing unless you receive some money in your case.

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

- Giulia

This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

- Daniel Kaim

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

- Lisa
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