In December of 2012, Investors Business Daily reports that a record number of workers signed up for federal disability benefits. During this month, almost 90,000 new workers signed up for these benefits, which are provided through the social security administration. This brings the total number of disabled workers collecting benefits up to more than 8.8 million.
Large volumes of new applicants and new benefit recipients could contribute to backlogs in application processing, a major problem for many workers since it already takes an average of 3-5 months to apply for social security disability. Qualifying for benefits through the social security administration also remains difficult, with greater than 50 percent denial ratings for initial applicants.
Our Boston workers' compensation attorneys want to make sure workers are aware that applying for disability benefits through the SSA is not necessarily their only option. If you are injured at work and are disabled, you should be able to make a workers' compensation claim and obtain either temporary or permanent disability benefits through your employer's workers' compensation insurer.
SSDI vs. Workers' Compensation
The 90,000 new applicants applying for federal disability benefits in December of 2012 were applying for SSDI, which stands for supplemental security disability insurance. SSDI is a program that is based on your work history, which means that you must have worked for a certain period of time and earned credits in order to obtain benefits through the program (as opposed to a similar needs-based disability benefits program called SSI).
Because SSDI is available for workers who have paid in to the system, some of those who apply for benefits were likely working before becoming disabled. This means some may have been injured doing their jobs and thus may also be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, not just SSDI benefits.
Workers' compensation and SSDI are different programs that offer different benefits and have differing eligibility rules. SSDI doesn't require that your injury or disability arise from your job in order for you to qualify for benefits, while workers' compensation does. However, workers' comp in many ways provides much broader coverage for those whose injuries did occur as a result of work.
For example, while SSDI will pay disability benefits only if you have a long-term condition that has or will last for a year and that prevents you from working in any job you are qualified for. Workers' comp disability, on the other hand, can be paid for short term or temporary disability until you return to work. If you are not totally disabled but your work potential is reduced, then workers' comp will also pay partial disability benefits.
Knowing the differences between SSDI and workers' compensation is important, especially now with the potential for such long waits to apply for SSDI benefits. While in some cases, you may be entitled to both workers' comp and SSDI, you should always be sure you understand your right to make a work injury claim through workers' compensation so you do not miss out on benefits that are available to you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a work accident in the Greater Boston area, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC for a free consultation. Call 1-877-617-5333.