When a medical condition makes it impossible to continue working, there is often more than one source of help and support available. Hurt workers may qualify under their employer's workers' compensation plans, with your state's rehabilitation programs and with Social Security disability. These programs can work together to produce a complete package of support for those that qualify but there are some things that the applicant needs to know and watch for. Read on to learn more.
When a work-related injury is severe, catastrophic or permanent, workers can expect to be offered a settlement. This financial settlement can be paid in several ways and it can include future medical expenses, lump-sum payments, structured payments and even job training help. Workers' comp is not a federal program like Social Security; it's run by each state individually. That means the benefits can vary. Each state maintains a state workers' compensation board to oversee the many private workers' comp insurance plans that might exist.
Almost all states have their own government-run programs to help those permanently affected by a workplace injury. The programs range from job preparedness to mental health counseling. If a disability has left you unable to do your previous job and you still want to work at another job, these programs are for you. These programs offer a variety of support for the disabled including:
- Career/interest testing to help determine what job fields you might be interested in.
- Job training classes.
- Resume and job search help. In some cases, job placement is available.
Social Security Disability
This program is not just for people who have job-related injuries or illnesses, but they also cover those who are also qualified for workers' comp. The question of getting both workers' comp and Social Security disability simultaneously might occur to some, particularly when you consider that neither of those benefit programs will entirely replace your most recent salary. If you qualify for Social Security and you have received a workers' comp settlement you can receive both at the same time but there are some caveats to consider.
Unfortunately, your total monthly earnings from both programs have limits, at least until you reach full retirement age. Some former workers who choose to have their workers' comp settlement paid to them using a structured payment may have their Social Security benefit amount reduced. Known as an offset, your monthly benefit reduces your Social Security payment until you are earning no more than about 80% of what you were earning in your job. 100% of both plans are available once you reach retirement age.
To learn more, speak to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and contact a workers' compensation law firm for help in structuring your settlement to get the most financial help possible.