Workers’ compensation v. SSDI: What’s the difference?

by | Apr 16, 2020 | social security disability

Suffering a severe injury can completely change your life. You suddenly face considerable stress and uncertainty, wondering how you will support your family and pay bills while you recover if you cannot work.

Thankfully, injured workers have options to obtain support and benefits in their time of need. Workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability are both forms of insurance injured workers can count on – but how do they know which one they can collect? These systems may seem similar, but it is important to understand the differences.

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a state-run insurance system that benefits employees who cannot work due to a work injury. This system:

  • Allows employees to receive benefits if they suffer an injury in the course of their work responsibilities;
  • Covers both total and partial disability, though it is often meant to provide temporary support to workers while they recover; and
  • It covers an employee’s lost wages, medical costs relating to the work injury as well as vocational rehabilitation, if necessary.

Kentucky law requires employers to have workers’ compensation insurance. Therefore, employees can often collect the compensation they deserve as long as they can prove their injury was directly related to their work.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

SSDI is an insurance program run through the federal government and the Social Security Administration (SSA). This insurance program provides income assistance if you cannot work due to an injury, illness or disability, and:

  • Provides you with benefits for an injury that keeps you out of work. It does not have to be a work-related injury, but it must meet the SSA’s list of qualifying impairments.
  • Covers long-term injuries. One of the qualifying factors to obtain SSDI is if the injury prevents you from working for at least one year; and
  • It provides supplemental wages while you cannot work.

While you are often entitled to collect workers’ compensation if you suffer a work injury, you must qualify for SSDI benefits.

Both of these systems are quite complex and require a different strategy to ensure injured workers obtain the benefits they both need and deserve. That is why it is critical to speak with an experienced attorney after suffering a serious injury, so you know how to move forward and protect your rights, regardless of the benefits you pursue.