If you suffer a work-related injury or illness that leaves you unable to work for at least a year, you may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. SSDI applications can take considerable time to get approved.
You should be able to start getting workers’ compensation benefits much sooner and more easily. That should be your first source of benefits because it covers your medical care and gives you a portion of your wages.
Remember the 80% rule
People often wonder how workers’ comp and SSDI benefits work together. What you need to know is that the total of your workers’ comp and SSDI benefits can’t be greater than 80% of your average wages just prior to your injury or illness. This includes any lump-sum workers’ comp payment you may receive instead of or in addition to your regular payments.
The method for calculating average wages varies. Therefore, it’s important to know how yours was calculated – especially if your wages varied weekly or monthly or you recently had a significant change in income prior to having to stop working.
If the total of these two benefits (and any other public disability benefits you may be receiving) add up to more than that 80%, the excess is deducted from your SSDI payment. Any private disability payments – for example, from private insurers – don’t count.
This can seem like an overwhelming amount of bureaucracy and red tape at a time when you are already sick or in pain. However, it’s important to know what benefits you’re entitled to receive and not to give up. Experienced legal guidance can help make the process go more smoothly and help you assert your rights and be able to continue to provide for yourself and your family.