Harlan Still & Koch

Navigating SSD benefits for workplace injuries

Workplace injuries make up a large percentage of SSD claims. Workers injured on the job who receive benefits through state workers compensation programs may also be eligible for SSD benefits. An employee may receive workers compensation for temporary or permanent workplace injuries. However, in order to qualify for SSD benefits, the employee must be totally disabled. That is, the employee must be experiencing a disability that is expected to last at least 12 months or end in death.

Therefore, the categories of workers injured on the job who are eligible for SSD benefits is narrower in scope, and limited to those suffering severe and permanently debilitating injuries or illnesses. Some workplace related injuries that may qualify for SSD benefits include traumatic brain injuries, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, and neck injuries.

Additionally, unlike workers compensation, eligibility for SSD benefits and the amount an employee can receive is largely dependent on the employees work history and is determined by a system of work credits. This remains true even for claims involving work related injuries or illnesses. Nevertheless, data shows that individuals who suffered workplace injuries make up a large percentage of those people eventually receiving SSD benefits.

Suffering from a severe workplace injury often results in lost time, lost wages and the need for therapy and long term care. Even if you have received workers compensation as a result of this injury, the repercussions from such an injury may entitle you to also file a claim and receive SSD benefits. Consultation with an experienced attorney can help ensure that you are receiving all of the benefits necessary as a result of your workplace injury, and help you navigate applicable SSD claims.

Source: SSA.gov, "Workplace Injuries and the Take-Up of Social Security Disability Benefits," Paul O'Leary, et al, accessed Jan. 10, 2018

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