Ohioans who suffer from serious illnesses or injuries that limit their ability to work often consider seeking workers’ compensation benefits or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Unfortunately, these people are often uncertain about whether they are eligible for benefits under either or both of these programs. This post will examine the essential differences between the two programs.
Workers’ compensation benefits are administered by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Social Security Disability benefits are overseen by the Social Security Administration, a federal agency. To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, a person must suffer an injury that is related to the person’s work or contract an illness that is likewise related to the job. SSDI benefits, on the other hand, can be awarded for any illness or injury, regardless of whether the condition is related to the person’s employment.
A third major difference is the degree of disability that must be incurred. SSDI benefits are available only to persons whose illness or injury renders them totally unable to perform the functions of their job or profession. Workers’ compensation benefits are available for all degrees of disability from partial temporary to completely permanent. Also, an award of SSD benefits requires an illness or injury whose effects have lasted or are expected to last at least 12 months. Workers’ compensation benefits are payable regardless of the expected duration of the disability. The amount of benefits under either program can vary significantly. SSD benefits consist of a monthly lump sum payment that is determined by a statutorily prescribed formula. Workers’ compensation benefits can include lost wages, medical expenses and an allowance for any permanent disability.
Anyone who is considering filing a claim for either SSD or workers’ compensation benefits may wish to consult a lawyer who handles such claims. Such a consultation can provide a helpful evaluation of the rules and facts that govern the case and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining an award of benefits.
Source: Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, “Handbook for Injured Employees,” accessed on Feb. 5, 2017