Qualifying Minnesotans have several different options for receiving benefits while not working due to workplace injuries. They can report their injuries to their employer and get workers’ compensation benefits. At the same time, they can receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal benefits program that helps people with certain disabilities while they cannot work or while their ability to work is severely limited. In contrast, workers’ compensation benefits are paid by insurance companies. The state of Minnesota and most other states require employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage from an insurance company or become self-insured. SSDI is a federal program and workers’ comp is a state program, so you can receive benefits from both at the same time.
Workers’ compensation and SSDI have very different requirements for eligibility, which is another reason you can receive benefits from both. To receive workers’ compensation, you must be an employee injured on the job while working for a Minnesota employer. Your injury must be more than minor (like a papercut). Workers who receive wage loss benefits must have injuries that keep them from working or performing all their job duties for more than a few days. You also can receive medical benefits, such as payments for your medical bills, prescriptions, and hospital visits.
In contrast, the Social Security Administration makes monthly payments to those who meet a series of strict requirements. You may be eligible for SSDI if you have worked recently, worked for long enough, and paid Social Security taxes on your income. However, the Social Security Administration may lower the SSDI you receive if you are also receiving workers’ compensation.
The Social Security Administration also has strict requirements for which disabilities qualify you for SSDI. Unlike workers’ compensation, SSDI covers only people with certain impairments who have severe limitations on their ability to hold down a job.
The SSA uses a five-part test to determine whether your disability makes you eligible for benefits. The test considers:
- Whether you earn a certain income amount or less each month (the current limit is $1,080)
- Whether your condition is “severe” enough that it either significantly limits your ability to perform basic work tasks for at least 12 months, or will result in death
- Whether your disability is on the SSA’s list of qualifying impairments
- Whether you can do the same work you did before the disability
- Whether you can do any other kind of work
Some parts of this test are similar to questions you may encounter during the workers’ compensation process if you are trying to return to work. Your rehabilitation plan may involve the qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) determining whether you can do other kinds of work. However, applying for SSDI is a totally separate process from seeking workers’ compensation, and determinations made by the SSA may not have any effect on your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Again, this is because SSDI is governed by federal law, while workers’ compensation is governed by Minnesota state law.
Do you have questions about getting the benefits you need while your workplace injury keeps you off the job? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.