Because of work-related injuries, too many people in the greater Sacramento area have been unable to return to their occupations or even live life as they knew it before their injuries.
Workers’ compensation benefits are available to California victims of injuries and illnesses related to work.
However, especially when the worker’s condition is permanent and debilitating, the worker and their family may find they need to look into other sources of income in addition to workers’ compensation.
Social Security Disability is also available to eligible workers since it covers both job-related and other disabilities. Like workers’ compensation, disability is also awarded without regard to fault.
Since disability is a federal program with different eligibility standards, the worker will have to qualify for Social Security Disability and apply for benefits even if they are already getting workers’ compensation under California law.
One example of a difference between the two programs is that, for Social Security, a worker’s condition has to be expected to last for 1 year. On the other hand, a person can get workers’ compensation for a temporary injury, even if the injury only sidelines the worker for a few days or weeks.
There is a cap on a person’s disability payment
While injured workers may pursue both disability and workers’ compensation, the Social Security Administration enforces a cap on disability payments in these circumstances.
Specifically, between workers’ compensation and disability, a worker may not receive more than 80% of what they were earning prior to their disability. The Social Security Administration will reduce a person’s monthly payment to enforce this cap.
To give an example, if a person made $4,000 a month before suffering a disability, and is receiving $3,000 a month in workers’ compensation, then Social Security will only pay $1,000 a month even if the person is otherwise eligible for a higher benefit.
The cap will continue until the person stops receiving workers’ compensation.
Even so, injured or ill California workers will likely want to pursue all available sources of compensation and should evaluate all of their options.