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I'm disabled from a work injury. Can I get workers' comp and SSD?

It’s fairly common for people to develop disabilities that qualify them for Social Security Disability Insurance after an accident at work. In such cases, people often have other options for disability compensation beyond SSD. Many have a long-term disability insurance policy through an employer, VA disability compensation benefits, or pensions that become available in case of disability. In the case of most work-related injuries, workers’ compensation may be available.

Can I claim these benefits in addition to SSDI, or do I have to choose?

Even if you receive SSD, you are absolutely allowed to claim any disability benefits you are entitled to. Some of them, however, may reduce your SSDI benefits. The good news is that private disability insurance proceeds and veterans’ disability benefits do not affect your Social Security disability benefits at all.

Payments that do affect your SSD benefits include:

  • Workers’ compensation, whether you get a lump-sum payment or monthly payments
  • State or local disability benefits not related to workplace injuries or illnesses, such as:
    • Civil service disability benefits
    • Temporary disability benefits provided by a state
    • State or local retirement benefits that are base on disability

How will my SSD benefit be affected?

The total amount of these types of benefits you receive can’t exceed 80 percent of your average earnings before your disability, as calculated by the Social Security Administration. The SSA will total all Social Security disability benefits your family receives and add it to the amount you receive from workers’ comp or a public disability payment. If that amount exceeds 80 percent of your pre-disability average earnings, the SSA will deduct any excess from your Social Security disability payment.

Depending on the circumstances, the Social Security Administration uses different methods to calculate your pre-disability average earnings. If you want more information about how yours were calculated, you can contact or the SSA.

A final note: it is very important to report any changes in your benefits to the Social Security Administration. That includes if the amount you receive through workers’ comp or other programs changes or the benefits stop.

If you have questions or want more information, contact a Social Security disability attorney or visit the SSA’s disability web portal.

Source: Social Security Administration, "How Workers' Compensation And Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits," Jan. 2011

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