Sometimes a work injury can prevent you from being able to work. To what extent it prevents you from doing so affects what benefits you may be eligible for. There are different types of Workers’ Compensation benefits designed to compensate workers for various injuries. For example, temporary total benefits are designed to compensate an injured worker who is unable to work their current job for a short period of time. If a worker suffers a permanent injury or limitation due to a work injury or disease, they may be entitled to permanent partial or permanent total benefits. Workers’ Compensation only looks to see whether you are unable to work your current job except in the case of permanent total benefits. Disability is also typically viewed as a percentage – from zero to 100.
For Social Security Disability, it is an all-or-nothing program. You are either unable to meet the demands of full-time competitive employment or you are not disabled. Therefore, you may be eligible for some kind of Workers’ Compensation benefit but not Social Security Disability if your injury was temporary or minor. For social Security Disability, your inability to work must also last for 12 months or more.
Many situations arise where people may be eligible for both Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability, particularly in cases of serious injuries or occupational illness. However, in Ohio, such individuals are often not able to receive the full Social Security Disability payment and the full Workers’ Compensation payment at the same time. These rules vary from state to state. Ohio sets a limit for such individuals and it is referred to as the Workers’ Compensation “offset”. Social Security will calculate the pre-injury income for the person and they are not permitted to collect more than 80 percent of their pre-injury income between the two benefits. Typically, the individual’s Social Security Disability benefit will be reduced down to compensate for this, and sometimes the SSD benefit is even eliminated completely. SSI payments are typically reduced by other sources of income, so it will also be affected.
It is important for a person to keep their Social Security Disability claim in mind when pursuing a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits and vice versa. Often times the Workers’ Compensation offset is unavoidable, so an attorney can help explain the best route to take in your particular case.