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Does workers’ compensation ever intersect with disability law?

When a severe illness or accident renders an individual unable to work, he or she may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. The two primary disability programs administered by the SSA are Social Security disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income. SSDI benefits require a qualifying work history, whereas low-income recipients may be eligible for SSI benefits.

Notably, individuals who suffered an on-the-job injury are not precluded from either program. According to the SSA’s own website, individuals who suffered injuries from a workplace accident might also be qualify for disability benefits, even in conjunction with workers’ compensation benefits. 

Indeed, some workplace injuries may involve residual disabilities. However, the eligibility requirements and administration of the two sources of disability assistance are separate. The SSA is federal, whereas workers’ compensation is state run. New Jersey’s workers’ compensation program provides immediate assistance to injured workers. That relief may help medical expenses and treatment programs, as well as partial lost wages.

According to the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation, compensation is available for permanent disabilities, both partial and total. However, the calculation scheme is different for each, and long-term payments may be subject to a reduction after 450 weeks. In addition, there are statutory maximum and minimum levels.

The intersection of these separate programs can be complex. For that reason, it can be helpful contact a law firm, like ours, that focuses on both SSDI benefits and workers’ compensation law.  We can help an injured worker maximize his or her assistance from all available sources.

Source: U.S. Social Security Administration, “Workplace Injuries and the Take-Up of Social Security Disability Benefits,” Paul O’Leary, Leslie I. Boden, Seth A. Seabury, Al Ozonoff, and Ethan Scherer, Aug. 2012

 

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