Does eligibility for SSDI benefits require a workplace injury?

Many people in Missouri who suffer disabling injuries are unsure if they can obtain Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Often, this uncertainty is caused by confusion between the state’s workers’ compensation system and the federal program for SSD claims. This post will provide an overview of differences between eligibility under the two programs.

Eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits in Missouri requires that the injury be suffered on the job or be related to the recipient’s employment. Benefits may be awarded for temporary injuries and for partial and total permanent disability. Benefits cover specified medical expenses, lost income and rehabilitative care.

The SSD program administered by the United States Social Security Administration is different in several respects. First, the injury or illness that causes the disability does not have to be work-related. Second, the SSDI program only covers total disability; that is, the recipient must be totally unable to perform their job duties for at least 12 months. SSD benefits are not available for partial disability.

A person may work and receive SSD benefits if their earnings are less than $1,130 per year. The Missouri workers’ compensation program has no similar provision. SSD benefits are calculated by subtracting a sum known as the Federal Benefit Allowance for the recipient’s residence from the $1,130; the remainder is the amount of monthly benefits that the recipient will receive. This calculation is subject to a number of adjustments that depend upon the recipient’s living circumstances.

Any person who has suffered a disabling injury or illness may wish to consult an attorney who practices in the area of SSD claims. Such a consultation can provide a helpful evaluation of the claim and an estimate of the likelihood of receiving benefits. Some people are able to qualify for both workers’ compensation benefits and SSD benefits; an experienced attorney may assist in making this happen.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Disability Benefits,” accessed on Jan. 15, 2017

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