If you get hurt on the job or suffer from a work-related illness, you may be eligible for both Ohio workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. However, the two types of benefits are different in several important ways. Also, the amount that you receive in SSDI benefits may be reduced so that your combined benefits do not exceed 80 percent of your “average current earnings.”
For more than 25 years, the attorneys of Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, have helped injured workers and disabled individuals throughout northeastern Ohio to secure the disability benefits they deserve. If you are eligible for both workers’ compensation benefits and SSDI benefits, we can help you to pursue and coordinate both types of benefits so that you get the maximum amount that you are entitled to receive.
To discuss your case, contact us today. A knowledgeable, experienced and compassionate member of our legal team can provide a free review of your case and help you to understand your rights and all of the options available to you. We are ready to go to work for you right away.
What Is the Difference Between Workers’ Comp and SSDI Benefits?
As you consider whether to file for Ohio workers’ compensation benefits, SSDI benefits – or both – you should understand a few key distinctions between these two programs. Those differences include:
- Who oversees benefits – The Ohio workers’ compensation system is a state program. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) oversees it. The SSDI program, on the other hand, is a federal program. The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages it along with a state agency, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD).
- How long you have to work – If you are an employee who suffers a work-related injury or illness – even on your first day on the job – you could be eligible to receive Ohio workers’ compensation benefits. However, to be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must have paid Social Security taxes and, in turn, earned “work credits,” to be eligible.
- Where your injury occurred – To qualify for Ohio workers’ compensation benefits, you must suffer from an injury or illness that you suffered in the course of and which arose out of your employment. In contrast, your disability does not have to be work-related in order to qualify for SSDI benefits.
- What type of disability – You may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio if suffer from a total or a partial disability. A partial disability is one that limits but does not totally prevent you from working. To be eligible for SSDI benefits, however, you must suffer from a total disability, or a disability which prevents you from working at any job.
- When you can receive benefits – If your injury or illness prevents you from working or limits your ability to work for more than seven days, you can start to receive workers’ comp benefits in Ohio immediately. With SSDI, you cannot receive your first benefits check until five months after the date of the onset of your disability.
If you believe that you qualify for both types of benefits, you should get in touch with Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, as soon as possible. We will examine your situation and help you to navigate the process that goes into applying for these benefits, which could make a major difference in your life as you move forward.
How Do Social Security Disability Benefits ‘Offset’ Workers’ Comp Benefits?
Even though you may be eligible for both workers’ compensation and SSDI benefits, you cannot receive a combined amount in benefits that would exceed 80 percent of your “average current earnings.” If you exceed that amount, then the SSA will reduce your monthly benefits payment until the combined amount hits the 80 percent mark. If you have dependents who receive SSDI benefits based on your disability, then the SSA will reduce their benefit first in order to reach that mark. This is called a “workers’ compensation offset.”
The SSA determines your average current earnings by taking your average monthly income or your average monthly income from:
- Your five highest-paid consecutive years, or
- The one year when you earned the most over the previous five years.
Additionally, when the SSA determines your combined amount of benefits, the SSA will not consider:
- Veterans’ benefits
- Private pension benefits
- Private insurance benefits.
For example, let’s say that you qualify for $2,000 per month in workers’ compensation benefits and $2,200 in SSDI benefits. At the time of your disability, your average current earnings were $4,000 per month. Because your combined amount of benefits ($4,200) is significantly higher than 80 percent of your average current earnings ($3,200), your SSDI payments would be decreased by $1,000.
The SSA will continue to apply the “offset” to your SSDI benefits until you reach age 65, or retirement age, or until your workers’ compensation benefits end, whichever comes first.
How Can Our Ohio Disability Benefits Attorneys Help You?
In many cases, people qualify for and receive workers’ compensation benefits while they are waiting to receive their SSDI benefits. After all, many SSDI applications are initially denied. A person may need to go through an appeals process that could take several months – even years – to resolve. Workers’ compensation, in this sense, can provide crucial assistance while you are fighting for the SSDI benefits that you deserve.
Your attorney from Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, can carefully review your case and determine which types of benefits you are eligible to receive. If you qualify for both Ohio workers’ compensation benefits and SSDI benefits, we will help you to apply for them, and we will manage the process so you receive the maximum amount. For example, if you receive a lump-sum settlement of your workers’ compensation claim, it should be structured so that it does not lead to a reduction of your monthly SSDI payments.
The attorneys of Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., LPA have more than 200 years of combined experience practicing law – almost all of it here in the Mahoning Valley. We not only know the ins and outs of disability law in Ohio, we also truly care about each and every one of our clients and their futures. To discuss how we can help you, call or reach us online today and receive a free consultation through our office in Youngstown, Warren, Salem, Ravenna or Akron.
The son of a Youngstown steelworker who worked himself in steel mills as a young man, Joseph A. Moro is acutely aware of the challenges that working people face and the dire impacts that injuries and impairments can have on them and their families. After he earned his undergraduate degree from Youngstown State University and his law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, Joseph has largely dedicated his practice to handling workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. He is a fluent Spanish speaker who is certified as a Workers’ Compensation Specialist by the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) as well as a certified Veterans Affairs Representative. He currently serves as the OAJ Regional Representative for Youngstown-Warren and on the OSBA Workers’ Compensation Specialty Board.