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Can I Apply for Disability and Workers’ Comp at the Same Time?

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Posted By DAM Firm | November 15 2023 | Workers' Compensation

Individuals can typically recover workers’ compensation benefits after sustaining any type of workplace injury or illness. If the injury or illness leads to a disability, workers’ compensation in California does have various aspects that allow for longer-term benefits. However, individuals may need to apply for Social Security disability benefits in the event the disability seems to be long-term. Here, we want to discuss the difference between workers’ compensation benefits and disability.

Can I Apply for Disability & Workers’ Comp at the Same Time

You Can Apply for Both Benefits, But You May Not Receive Both

In the state of California, nearly every employer carries workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are designed to accomplish a few goals, first and foremost, paying for medical expenses related to the workplace injury or illness. Individuals will typically receive complete coverage of all medical costs related to the workplace incident. These benefits will continue until a medical professional determines the worker has reached maximum medical improvement, meaning their condition is unlikely to change any further with additional treatment.

Individuals who sustained a serious workplace injury may be able to file for disability insurance with the state of California, but not every employer carries long-term disability insurance. This is not required under state law. There are very specific requirements for filing a disability claim with the state of California, and we encourage you to closely examine this list of requirements and speak to an attorney before filing your claim.

Disabilities through the state will typically come after the workers’ compensation benefits have ended.

Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security disability is a federal program, and benefits are paid through the Social Security Administration (SSA). In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, individuals must have met the following requirements:

  • Earned enough work credits over the previous decade
  • Paid into social security disability through previous employment
  • Have a disabling condition recognized by the SSA
  • Be expected to have a disabling condition for at least one year or a condition that is expected to end in death

Workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security disability are two separate entities, and receiving benefits from one will not disqualify you from the other. Injured employees are often able to receive workers’ compensation benefits to help supplement their income until they are accepted for SSD benefits. There are specific limits to how much compensation a person can receive while obtaining both of these benefits, and we encourage you to speak to an attorney if you have any questions about the limits.

If you expect to qualify for SSD, the sooner you apply, the better. Applications for disability benefits from the SSA are often denied at first, and you may need to work with an attorney to go through the official appeals process to secure SSD benefits.

Working With an Attorney

After sustaining a major workplace injury, you may have questions about the benefits you expect to receive. It is not uncommon for employers or insurance carriers to push back against injured workers and refuse to pay the benefits the injury victim needs. A skilled Riverside work injury lawyer can help you and your family through this process. An attorney can discuss the types of workers’ compensation benefits you should expect and help you handle every aspect of the claim, including working through any appeals necessary.

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