Yes. In South Carolina, there are circumstances that will allow you to collect workers’ compensation and disability at the same time. However, workers’ compensation and disability benefits are two individual programs that each has a different set of criteria, so you will need to meet each program’s requirements to receive both at the same time.
Typically, we recommend resolving your workers’ compensation case before applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, but there may be instances where it makes sense to file at the same time. You can read on to learn more about both workers’ compensation and disability to understand what might apply in your situation.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
According to the South Carolina Bar, if you get injured at work and cannot continue working, you can apply for workers’ compensation benefits. This may help you recover certain damages, such as:
- Current and future income loss for a set period of time
- Medical costs associated with the work-related injury
Workers’ compensation is generally a temporary program that provides benefits in the time it takes to recover from a work-related injury. These payments provide you with 66.67 percent of your average weekly pay, as the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC) states.
Permanent Total Disability
In some instances, a work injury is so severe that the worker may not be able to return to work or continue working in their previous capacity. If you suffered a severe and permanent injury at work, such as paralysis or brain damage, you may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits.
According to the S.C. Ann § 42-9-10, if an injured worker is unable to continue working due to a permanently disabling condition acquired on the job, they may qualify for permanent total disability. This type of compensation ensures the injured party receives payments for life on account of being impaired and losing their earning capacity.
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Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability (SSD) is a distinctly different program from workers’ compensation. Disability benefits provide payments to help support people who are or who become disabled and unable to work.
If a work injury rendered you unable to continue working, you may be eligible to apply for disability benefits. How much the injury affects your ability to work will determine the benefits available.
There Are Two Types of SSD Benefits Programs
Two separate disability programs may apply to your situation. These programs are:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
To qualify for SSDI, you must have a qualifying disability that is proven, making you unable to work. Additionally, you must have worked long enough to pay into the Social Security system to receive disability benefits.
To qualify for SSI, you must generally have a low income and have not worked enough to pay into the system to qualify for SSDI. Other people who may be eligible include those who are aged 65 or older and people who are blind.
Not All Work-Related Injuries Qualify You for Disability Benefits
Disability benefits are determined based on a person’s ability to work full-time. If your permanent injury or work-related illness prevents you from working, you may be eligible for partial or total disability benefits.
If your work-related injuries are temporary, you may qualify for workers’ compensation coverage but not SSD.
You May be Able to Collect Workers’ Compensation and Disability Benefits at the Same Time
If you are injured at work and suffer a permanent injury that will continue for at least the next 12 months, and most likely the rest of your lifetime, you may qualify to collect workers’ compensation and disability at the same time. However, the specifics of your case will play a role in how this is determined.
For example, you may also have to reimburse a portion of your workers’ compensation settlement to Medicare if you file for SSD benefits at the same time, so it is usually more beneficial to wait.
South Carolina Limits the Number of Benefits You May Be Able to Receive
In South Carolina, it is often not possible to receive full SSD payments if you are collecting workers’ compensation. This is due to both programs being public benefits, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
In this state, there are limits for individuals regarding how many benefits they may be able to collect. This is generally referred to as the “workers’ compensation offset.” It is calculated by ensuring the individual does not collect over 80 percent of their pre-injury income when both benefits are combined. If the individual is collecting permanent total disability payments, they may expect their disability benefits to be reduced.
Furthermore, if you have other sources of income available to you, it may affect your eligibility to collect SSD benefits, especially with benefits that are financially need-based.
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Our Law Firm Can Help You Apply for Workers’ Compensation and SSD Benefits
Applying for either workers’ compensation or SSD benefits can be complicated. If you were permanently injured at work and are unsure about how to file for workers’ compensation or disability benefits, our team can help with both processes. We can review your case and help gather appropriate materials to support your applications.
Some services we provide to help you file for workers’ compensation or disability benefits include:
- Making sure you submit the correct paperwork, and that all paperwork is filled accurately
- Gathering evidence that you will need to submit with the application(s), such as medical records, statements from medical professionals, or employment information
- Reviewing your employers’ workers’ compensation insurance policy to see how much you may be entitled to claim for your injuries
- Attending hearings on your behalf to petition for your right to collect workers’ compensation or disability benefits
If you are denied workers’ compensation or disability benefits, both programs have an appeals process. A lawyer from our firm can help file an appeal and guide you through this process.
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Clients Rave About Our Services on Google
Our legal team prides in itself for offering compassionate and empathic services to our clients. We understand the burdens that come with being injured and not being able to work, so we work hard to help you maintain financial stability as you recover.
With each client we serve, we learn new stories about people in our community, and we care about each person. That kindness shines through, which you can read in some of our Google reviews online. Here are some examples:
- Tyler Lee wrote, “Paul Hammack and his team provide top-notch legal services, but more importantly, they truly care about their clients! Highly recommended!”
- Samantha Anderson wrote, “Paul really helped me on my case! He was very thorough and fought hard for my workers’ comp case. I appreciate him and his staff and all they’ve done for me. I highly recommend them!”
Reach Out to Hammack Law Firm to Discuss How to Pursue Compensation
If you would like more information on these benefit programs, you can discuss them with a representative at Hammack Law Firm. One of our team members can review your case and determine which compensation claims you may qualify to apply for.
We will help you apply for benefits or appeal if you were denied workers’ compensation or disability benefits. Contact our offices to speak to a legal professional today at