Protecting Injured Workers
And Their Families For The Short And Long Term

States did not shift workers’ compensation burden to feds

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

When workers are injured on the job in Minnesota, they are typically required to rely on workers’ compensation benefits to make up for the financial shortfalls and losses that occurred as a result of their injuries. Where workers’ compensation benefits just can’t cut it, or in cases in which the injury results in a long-term disability, an injured worker may also rely on Social Security Disability Insurance from the federal government – if they qualify.

Social Security Disability benefits are distributed from a trust that all United States workers pay into over the course of their time in the workforce. Usually, a worker must have contributed for 10 years before claiming SSD benefits. In addition, the injury, illness or disability from which the worker suffers must prevent them from being able to work, or it must substantially interfere with their ability to work. Only those with disabilities or debilitating injuries typically qualify for SSDI.

Between 2001 and 2015, the number of SSDI beneficiaries increased by nearly 60 percent. At the same time, SSDI disbursements and expenditures rose from $60 billion to $143 billion. The sharp rise in SSDI claimants led some to speculate that some states were lowering workers compensation benefits in an attempt to shift the burden for injured and disabled workers onto SSDI and the federal government.

However, a new report from the National Council on Compensation Insurance refutes such claims. Since 2010, both the number of SSDI claimants and the amount spent on SSDI have stabilized. In cases in which a worker qualifies for both workers’ compensation and SSDI, workers’ compensation accounts for the lion’s share of the benefits. This means that injured workers, as is typically required, should turn first to workers’ compensation.

Source: NCCI, “Social Security Disability Insurance and Workers Compensation,” Jim Davis, Matt Schutz and Bruce Spidell, accessed April 2, 2018

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