If you were injured on the job, you can likely file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits will cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost income. Additionally, if you can no longer work due to your workplace injury, you may also be able to collect disability benefits during your recovery period.
Many people believe that if they collect either workers’ compensation or disability benefits, they cannot receive the other, but that is not true. In fact, it may be possible to receive workers’ compensation and disability at the same time. You will need to meet the eligibility requirements for both, and you should also know how collecting workers’ compensation benefits will impact the amount of Social Security benefits you can receive. Reach out to our lawyers at JSK today to find out more.
How Workers’ Compensation Works
Although workers’ compensation and disability benefits may provide coverage for your medical costs, lost income, and more, there are key differences between the two.
Illinois law requires employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance to almost every employee who is injured on the job. In Missouri, employers with five or more employees are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. But employers in the construction industry must provide workers’ compensation to all workers. Employees are covered from the first day they start working and if they are hurt while on the job, they can file a claim. Coverage under workers’ comp includes medical expenses and a percentage of the worker’s lost wages.
To qualify for workers’ compensation, the employee must have sustained injuries from a workplace accident. In Illinois, injured workers can choose the doctor they see for treatment while in Missouri, employers have the right to select the healthcare provider. If workers in Missouri wish to see a different doctor, they can do so at their own expense.
How Disability Benefits Work
Social Security disability (SSD) is not a state-run program like workers’ compensation. Instead, it is a federal program provided through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Most people who have worked for an employer have paid into the program through a percentage of every paycheck they received.
Disability benefits can provide you with a portion of your lost income if you are unable to work due to a disability. To qualify, you must suffer from a debilitating condition that interferes with your ability to work. Contrary to the workers’ compensation system, a person does not have to be injured on the job in order to collect disability benefits.
Social Security disability benefits have many different eligibility requirements. To qualify, a person must have:
- Earned a certain amount of work credits within the past ten years
- Paid into the disability program through prior employment
- A condition classified as a disability by the SSA
- A prognosis that will prevent them from working for at least one year, or that is expected to be fatal
While there are many differences between workers’ compensation and disability benefits, injured individuals can sometimes receive both until they are able to return to work on a regular basis, if working again is a possibility. The most frequent question is whether the receipt of workers’ compensation benefits will exceed the amount allowed by SSA.
Can You Receive Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation Benefits at the Same Time?
Social Security disability benefits and workers’ compensation are two entirely different entities. Receiving one does not automaticall disqualify someone from also receiving the other. In fact, people who are injured at work often claim workers’ compensation as supplemental income if the accident rendered them disabled and they are waiting for disability benefits.
Although it is possible to collect workers’ compensation and disability benefits at the same time, no one can receive more than 80 percent of the income they previously earned. This could reduce the total amount of Social Security disability benefits a person receives. When a person will receive more than 80 percent of their previous income while receiving workers’ compensation and disability benefits, the SSA will reduce the amount of benefits they receive.
It is also important to note that workers’ compensation benefits are generally considered fairly temporary, while disability benefits are usually provided on a longer term basis. Due to this, it is important to tell the SSA when workers’ compensation runs out, as it could result in larger disability payments.
What is a Disability Under Workers’ Compensation and SSD?
The term ‘disability’ is defined very differently in the workers’ compensation and SSD systems. Under the workers’ compensation system in both Illinois and Missouri, employees can receive benefits for their medical expenses and lost wages if they are injured while performing their job duties. It is generally presumed that once the employee receives treatment, they will return to work. If an injury leaves someone permanently disabled, they can then receive permanent total disability benefits through SSD.
Some people are so seriously injured on the job that they receive temporary or permanent disability benefits through workers’ compensation, but at some point, they can still return to work. When they do, their disability may require that they accept a job with a lower income. In this situation, it is not possible to collect both workers’ compensation and disability benefits. To collect disability benefits, a person must be unable to perform any type of work at all, depending on their age, education, and residual functional capacity.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Missouri
There are two important steps to take after being injured on the job in Missouri. The first is to receive medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident. While employers can choose the doctor a worker sees, you can seek emergency treatment immediately after your injury from a doctor that is not of your employer’s choosing.
The second most important step to take after a workplace accident in Missouri is to notify your employer. You must do this within 45 days of sustaining the injury or you may forfeit your right to workers’ compensation benefits. Once you have notified your employer, they will then guide you through the rest of the steps. To ensure your rights are being upheld, it is also advisable to work with our JSK workers’ compensation lawyer in Illinois and Missouri.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Illinois
The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim in Illinois is largely the same as it is in Missouri. You should seek medical attention immediately following the accident. In Illinois, you can visit any doctor of your own choosing and workers’ compensation will cover it pursuant to the Medical Fee Schedule.
You must also notify your employer of any workplace accident within 30 days in Illinois. If you fail to tell your employer about the accident and resulting injuries within that time, you will lose your right to claim any benefits at all.
You Can Appeal a Denial
Unfortunately, it is extremely common for people to be denied for both workers’ compensation and disability benefits when they apply. While this may feel like a hopeless situation at first, it is important you do not become discouraged. People work very hard for workers’ compensation benefits, and most anyone who has ever held a job before has paid into the SSD system, meaning they have a right to benefits when needed.
It is always best to work with our attorney when initially filing for either workers’ compensation or disability benefits. A lawyer at JSK will give you the best chance of being approved the first time and even if you are denied, an attorney will know the appeals process that can help you obtain the benefits you need.
Why Work with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Illinois and Missouri?
It is always recommended that you work with a JSK lawyer who is experienced with both SSD and workers’ compensation claims. Depending on the facts of your case, it may be advantageous to file for one type of benefits before applying for the other. An attorney can advise you on the best steps to take depending on your situation. When working with our lawyer, they will:
- Assist you with filing your documents, legal applications, and paperwork properly so issues do not arise in your case,
- Collect evidence that supports your condition or injury,
- Speak to experts in different fields and ask them to testify on your behalf
- Represent you at all times against the SSA or the insurance company and make sure your best interests are protected at all times
Speak to Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Illinois and Missouri Today
After an injury that prevents you from working and being able to support yourself financially, both workers’ compensation and disability benefits can help. Unfortunately, neither of these types of claims are easy to file and deserving people are denied every day. At the Law Office of Jerome Salmi Kopis, LLC, our Illinois and Missouri workers’ compensation lawyers can help you through the entire process so you receive the full coverage you need and deserve. Call us now at (618) 726-2222 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation and to learn more about your legal options.