When you’re involved in a work-related accident or suffering from an occupational disease, your primary concern is how you’ll financially support yourself. The good news is that you may be eligible for workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
However, not every injury or occupational disease qualifies you to receive these benefits. For this reason, you’ll need an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to review your situation and establish the maximum financial benefits you’ll get.
Read on to understand who’s qualified for workers’ compensation and SSD benefits in South Carolina. We’ll also dive deep into how a workers’ compensation claim affects your social security disability benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Claim
It provides financial benefits if you get injured on the job or get a work-related disease. The benefits you can expect from a workers’ compensation include:
- Medical treatment for occupational health issues.
- Cash payments that partially cover the wages you’ve lost due to your condition.
You’ll receive temporary disability benefits as you recover away from work. However, if your current condition causes lasting consequences after healing, you’ll qualify for lifetime disability benefits.
Who Qualifies for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Any work-related injury makes you eligible for a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer should be responsible for the medical treatment. The current law says that your employer decides the doctor who treats you. Seeing your own doctor without the employer’s permission makes your employer non-liable to medical expenses, unless under emergency conditions.
That said, navigating through the legal complexities when making a compensation claim requires the skills of an experienced attorney. For instance, workers’ compensation claims are not accepted immediately sometimes. In such circumstances, attorneys at David Aylor Law Offices can help you file forms with the Workers’ Compensation Commission to ensure you get the compensation you truly deserve.
What’s the Workers’ Compensation Rate in South Carolina?
Every state has its laws regarding workers’ compensation. In South Carolina, your compensation rate depends on whether you are temporarily or entirely disabled. If you’re partially disabled, you’re eligible for a weekly compensation equal to 66 ⅔ % of the difference between your weekly salary before and after the injury. In addition, this compensation rate will not last for more than 340 weeks from the date of injury.
On the other hand, total disability attracts a weekly compensation of 66 ⅔% of your average weekly salary. The compensation amount shouldn’t be less than $75 so long as this money doesn’t exceed your average weekly wages. This compensation rate will not exceed 500 weeks except when the injury paralyzes your legs, all four limbs or causes physical brain damage.
Social Security Disability (SSD) Benefits
Similar to a workers’ compensation claim, SSD provides cash and medical support to disabled employees, but the two are different in several ways. First, workers’ compensation benefits employees from their first day in the workplace, while SSD benefits are for workers with a substantial work history.
Additionally, workers’ compensation covers only disabilities resulting from occupational accidents or diseases. In contrast, SSD benefits are available only for workers with long-term disabilities, regardless of whether the impairments came off or on the job.
Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Benefits?
SSD benefits are not payable for short-term or partial disability. Instead, they are only payable for total disability. The Social Security Administration considers you to have a qualifying disability if:
- You’re entirely unable to work or engage in a useful activity because of your medical condition
- You can’t continue with your previous work or switch to another job as a result of your medical condition
- Your disability condition has existed or is expected to last for at least a year or to be fatal
On top of meeting the disability rules above, you must have worked long and recently enough while covered with the Social Security Administration. The number of previous years of work required depends on the age at which you develop a disability. Additionally, you must have at least 40 credits, which you earn by paying social security taxes —you can earn a maximum of four credits annually. If SSA accepts your application, you’ll receive the benefits after a 5-month waiting period.
Can You Receive Both Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Benefits?
If you qualify for worker’s compensation as well as SSD benefits, you’ll receive both. After all, SSD benefits are monitored by the Social Security Administration (SSA) while individual states administer workers’ compensation programs.
However, your SSD benefits will reduce if you receive workers’ compensation payments. In other words, your social security disability benefits will not exceed 80% of your average current earnings if you are receiving worker’s compensation payments. That’s to ensure the overall benefits you get are not excessive.
While it’s challenging to figure out what entails your average current earnings, SSA has formulas to calculate this amount tailored to your specific circumstances. The SSA adds your workers’ compensation and SSD benefits, plus all other public disability payments you’re getting. If the total benefits exceed 80%, the amount above 80% is deducted from your social security benefits.
But once the workers’ compensation benefits come to an end while you’re still on SSD insurance, you should contact the Social Security Administration to adjust your benefits accordingly.
The truth is that understanding how workers’ compensation and SSD benefits work together can be difficult. For this reason, you should hire professional attorneys that have successfully helped clients with legal matters. With a reliable attorney, you can be sure to maximize your SSD benefits and workers’ compensation payments.
Frequently Asked Questions
How difficult is it to get SSD benefits?
Social Security Administration (SSA) denies about 60% of applicants wanting SSD benefits. However, a lawyer has a firm grasp of the legal complexities of SSD benefits, giving you a better chance for SSA to approve your application.
What should I do if my SSD application is rejected?
If your application is denied the first time, you can proceed to the hearing stage. If it’s rejected again, a skilled lawyer can help you file an appeal with the Appeals Council, then a lawsuit in Federal Court if necessary.
Can I apply for social security disability benefits online?
Yes. Most applications are made online on the SSA website.