Many workers in Ohio who suffer job-related injuries may wonder if they are eligible for either workers’ compensation benefits or Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits or both. And a worker receiving one type of benefit may be curious about the effect of becoming eligible for the other type of benefit. In this post, we will answer these two questions but postpone for the moment questions of eligibility for either workers’ compensation or SSD benefits.
As discussed in previous posts, any person who is totally and permanently disabled is entitled to receive Social Security disability benefits. The disability can be either physical or mental, but the cause is irrelevant. The claimant must have worked a minimum number years before becoming eligible for SSD benefits. In contrast, every worker in Ohio who suffers an on-the-job injury is entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and any future disability, whether full or partial, but the disability need not be total or permanent.
A person who suffers a work-related injury and is completely disabled as a result is theoretically eligible for both kinds of benefits. When the Social Security Act was amended in 1965 to include disability benefits, Congress provided an “offset” for any person who was eligible to receive both SSD and workers’ compensation benefits. The combined amount of benefits cannot exceed 80 percent of the worker’s average current earnings for five years before being injured, provided that the combined amount of payments cannot be less than the total amount of SSD benefits before the reduction.
Anyone who is eligible to receive both kinds of benefits may wish to consult an attorney who specializes in SSD claims to ensure that he or she is receiving the maximum benefits and that any offset has been properly calculated. A knowledgeable lawyer can also provide assistance in correcting any errors in calculating the offset.
Source: Social Security Administration, “Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability Insurance, and the Offset: A Fact Sheet,” Virginia Reno, Cecil Thompson Willilams, and Isita Sengupta, 2003/2004, accessed on April 30, 2016