How workers’ comp and Social Security work together to compensate injured workers in Georgia
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 77,500 Georgia workers in 2018 sustained mild or severe job injuries, with at least 2.5 new cases for every 100 full-time employees.
Depending on the severity and nature of the work-related injury, there are a couple of methods that injured workers can secure benefits—including workers’ compensation and Social Security disability.
While both programs provide a means of securing financial compensation, the main differences arise in their requirements and ability to sustain injured workers with monthly income. Therefore, if you or your loved one suffers a disabling injury after a work-related accident, here’s what you need to know about the key differences between workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims.
Social Security disability claims
Social Security benefits provide compensation to disabled workers via a private policy system or through the official Social Security Administration (SSA). In Georgia, Social Security benefits are governed by federal law, and only employees with a determined form of disability are allowed to receive benefits. This particular program option isn’t restricted to a work-related injury. Instead, those who meet the SSA criteria for disability can apply for benefits.
To meet the criteria, Georgia workers must showcase a disabling injury that has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months. If the condition can result in death, the SSA will consider the injury as an approved disability that warrants compensation.
However, the SSA can also restrict full benefits to employees who have a long work history or workers with a monthly income that fails to meet the set threshold that the SSA deems as disabled. The SSA will also deny benefits to those whose conditions are not severe enough to affect their ability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). The SSA also features a listing of impairments, portraying the medical conditions they deem disabilities.
When all conditions are met, workers’ benefits are tallied using the workers’ compensation offset calculator. The benefits are either based on the worker’s paid earnings via Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) or through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program that reimburses individuals with limited monthly income.
Georgia workers’ compensation
Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy that caters to all workers and is required by most employers in Georgia. Workers who get injured on the job can file for workers’ compensation to receive reimbursements towards their medical bills and incurred expenses during the injury.
Once an employee has missed at least 7 days of work due to the injury, they will also be qualified for obtaining compensation benefits for their lost wages.
Workers’ compensation benefits are based on the worker’s current income and pay for their absent days until recovery. Workers who’ve been severely impaired and can’t work will be entitled to receiving temporary disability benefits, which amount to a portion of their previous wage.
These benefits can also provide injured workers with ongoing partial disability benefits that compensate for the difference in their reduced salaries before and after their injury. After a full recovery, injured workers may qualify for permanent disability benefits if their injury has left them impaired and unable to resume ordinary work.
What is the difference between Social Security and workers’ compensation?
While both the Social Security and workers’ comp programs reimburse an injured worker’s monthly income, there are some crucial differences in how they operate.
- For starters, workers’ compensation is limited to those who get hurt on the job or have contracted an occupational illness. On the other hand, Social Security disability covers all who are deemed disabled and unable to perform a substantial gainful activity.
- Social Security disability benefits cater to long-term disabilities lasting 1 whole year or more, while workers’ comp only facilitates lost wages on a short-term basis.
- Workers’ compensation benefits cover all incurred medical bills, such as treatment costs, medicinal prescription and any required therapy. With Social Security benefits, disabled workers aren’t guaranteed full medical coverage or immediate payments.
- Social Security benefits only cover severe impairments. Workers’ comp is more flexible and caters to any minor work injury preventing employees from working.
How Social Security disability and workers’ comp work together
The total income limit the injured worker can receive from both workers’ comp and Social Security benefits cannot exceed 80 percent of injured workers’ prior income level. If so, the SSA will deduct the excess amount, thus stabilizing income benefits to 80 percent.
If a worker’s benefits deplete while obtaining their due SSDI compensation, the SSA will cater for the difference by adjusting the worker’s expected benefits.
Can a disabled worker get Social Security benefits while also receiving workers’ comp?
Yes, it’s possible to be awarded both claims. While each program facilitates its own merits, understanding how you can collect workers’ comp and Social Security disability at the same time can enable you to receive the best of both worlds.
Under the right criteria, injured workers can qualify for both benefits if they meet both workers’ comp and SSA requirements. All you need to do is qualify as disabled, according to SSA terms, as a result of a work-related injury.
It’s essential to recognize that both programs are governed by different bodies, making them 2 separate entities altogether.
When to get legal advice
While collecting workers’ comp and Social Security benefits simultaneously may have its rewards, understanding which program best suits your condition may enable you to maximize your compensation. At WPMH Legal, not only can we help you make the right choice, but we will also provide expert legal representation to secure the rightful compensation that you deserve.