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Will Getting Workers’ Compensation Hurt My Chances of Getting Disability?


Let’s assume that you are injured on the job, a common occurrence that happens to many workers. What is uncommon about your injury is that it is so severe, that you and your doctors fear that it may prevent you from working again at any time in the foreseeable future.

Which Do You Need?

On the one hand, you may be thinking of applying for and trying to collect social security disability—or at least, you may have a recognition that you may at some point need to try to apply for disability. Disability is long term, and can provide continuous income for a lifetime for people who are not physically able to work in any job in the national economy.

On the other hand, disability can take a long time to apply for and be awarded benefits for, and you need not just income, but ways to pay your medical bills right now.

The conclusion you reach is that you should and must file a worker’s compensation claim, so that you can get the treatment that you need to at least try to get back to work. But if treatment is not successful or you are injured worse than you thought you were, will you be hurting your chances of getting social security disability later on if you need to apply for it?

No Risk to DIsability

The answer is generally no. Social security does not disqualify people or punish them if they applied for and received workers’ compensation benefits.

One thing that social security will look for when and if you apply, is whether you have gotten steady, continuous and appropriate medical treatment. While workers’ compensation is not a perfect system to get full treatment, it can at least show social security a history of medical records, treatments and diagnosis, thus creating the medical record document trail that you need to document the extent and nature of your injuries.

Be Aware of These Pitfalls

The one thing to be aware of is that if you get income (indemnity) from workers’ compensation, and you are awarded disability from social security, you can only collect a maximum of 80% of your total normal working income. Social security will thus deduct any payments that exceed that amount, if you are awarded disability benefits. This will not affect you if you just get workers’ compensation to pay medical bills.

In order to get social security you do have to show that you were working continuously for five years before you apply. That means that if you are injured on the job, you should make your workers’ compensation claim and get treatment as quickly as you can. It could take months, and perhaps even years before a final determination is made on your ability to work. You do not want to risk exceeding that 5-year limit.

The Tampa workers’ compensation attorneys at Barbas, Nuñez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian are prepared to help you if you have been injured while on the job. Call us today to discuss getting help for your injuries. Schedule a consultation today.


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