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We handle a lot of workers’ compensation cases at our law firm in Texas.  Insurance companies have turned workers’ comp into a game where they try to deny all liability for anything other than a bruise or a sprain.  So, it has become increasingly hard for injured workers to sustain their benefits in the workers comp systems.  That’s why it’s a good idea to consider whether you can turn your workman’s comp case into social security disability benefits.

Different Standards Of Defining Disability

The first thing you have to know in order to turn your workman’s comp case into social security disability benefits is that these are two different programs.  Workers’ compensation is a state program.  Social security disability is a Federal program.  Even if you work for the Federal government, your workers’ comp system is run by a different agency than social security. 

These two programs (State and Federal) have two different definitions of disability.  Usually, workers’ comp defines disability as lost wages resulting from an injury.  Social security defines disability as a physical inability to earn because of a severe medical condition.  They are evaluated in significantly different ways.  Workers’ comp usually looks at what the doctor said about your ability to work.  Social security has a convoluted sequential evaluation process that is hard to understand.

How To Turn Your Workman’s Comp Case Into Social Security Disability Benefits

This is the important part.  If your workers’ comp case has kept you out of work for an extended period of time, then you want to consider social security disability.  To get social security disability, you have to be out of work for a year, or expect to be off work for a year because of your medical conditions. 

The great thing about workers’ comp is that you usually have access to doctors who document your health problems.  It’s all geared towards defining your diagnosis and your work ability.  This is the type of evidence that you need to apply for social security disability benefits.  If you have been off work for six months with a work injury, then you have to start thinking about how to turn your workman’s comp case into social security disability benefits.

Assess the situation if you’ve been off work for six months.  If you think you are going to miss another six months, it’s time to file for social security disability.  It’ll likely take that long to process your claim anyway.  And if you start early, then when workers’ comp runs out, you will have social security to fall back on.

Can I Get Workers’ Comp And Social Security Benefits At The Same Time?

Yes.  You can get workers’ comp and social security disability benefits at the same time.  If you turn your workman’s comp case into social security disability benefits, there may be an offset though.  The general rule is that the two benefits combined cannot be more than 80% of your regular wages.  If that happens, then social security will reduce your disability payments while you continue to receive full workers’ comp benefits.  That’s not a problem. 

The best part of this is that when workers’ comp runs out, you will already have social security disability set up and running so you don’t have to go a long time without an income.  Sometimes social security takes a long time to get started.  That is especially true if you have to go to a hearing to establish your eligibility.  If you wait to file for social security disability after your workers’ comp case, then you could have a long time to wait for an income.  If you do it during your workers’ comp case, then you could have it all set up and ready by the time workers’ comp ends.

Of course, this is a strategy for people with severe medical conditions.  You have to be able to justify being off work for such a long period of time.  The good news is that while workers’ comp is only concerned about your work injury, social security will take into account all of your medical problems.

If you have any questions, please call or leave a comment below.  If you want to get your application for social security disability benefits started, we can help you do that.  Shoot me an email at info@mlflegal.com for anything you need.