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How Social Security disability and workers' compensation interact

When you get injured on the job and become unable to adequately perform, your job security and financial stability are immediately put at risk. Reduced hours, job changes and increased medical expenses become a burden, especially as you are trying to become well again and alleviate the pain that comes as a result of the injury.

Thankfully, there are monetary programs to help you reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. Perhaps the two most important programs to help you maintain financial stability are workers' compensation and Social Security disability benefits. While both programs operate differently, they interact in important ways, and they help cover your financial burden as you recover.

Workers' compensation is paid by your employer as a result of injuries you incurred on the job; they are liable for your injuries as workers' compensation is paid to you. Social Security, on the other hand, is not paid for by your employer. If you are eligible to receive workers' compensation, you are also eligible to receive Social Security benefits for your injury. You are eligible for both of these programs as long as you do not litigate against your employer, or until your condition becomes permanent and stationary.

In most cases, you receive financial assistance from only one of the two programs. However, it is possible to receive both workers' compensation and Social Security disability benefits under certain conditions. Social Security benefits for injuries are only payable for 52 weeks, while workers' compensation remains active until you choose to litigate, or your employer proves that they are not liable for your injury.

Workers' compensation and Social Security benefits are important resources if you are injured on the job. However, navigating these programs and subsequent litigation can prove stressful and time consuming. Consulting an attorney may bring more clarity as to which program to apply for as well as if there are any additional legal steps to take as a result of your injury.

Source: Findlaw, "The difference between workers' comp and disability benefits," accessed on July 11, 2016

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