Workers compensation is a disability income insurance plan carried by most employers in the United States. It is designed to replace a percentage of an injured or disabled worker’s income while he or she is hurt and unable to work if the injury took place at work or while performing work for the employer.
All US states have some form of workers compensation, and employers are mandated by law to carry workers compensation insurance in every state except Texas. The laws vary considerably from state to state, but the general objective is the same: to replace income for injured workers who are not yet able to return to work.
Qualifying for and receiving workers compensation should not stop you from applying for Social Security Disability if you have reason to believe your injury or disability may last longer than one year. The Social Security Disability system takes at least three months to start compensating most claimants, as the system presupposes that workers will be able to live on savings and workers compensation in the meantime.
Unlike Social Security Disability Insurance, which will only cover a worker if he is deemed completely disabled and unable to perform any kind of work, workers compensation will cover you if you are unable to return to the job you were injured on. In most states, the employer has the option of returning you to a different job which you may be able to perform with your physical (or mental) restrictions as long as it doesn’t represent a loss in pay.
If you are collecting workers compensation and expect to be out of work for more than a year, you should, at the very least, contact the Social Security Administration and tell them that you intend to file for Social Security Disability Benefits. That way, should you need to file for Social Security Disability, you will be eligible to receive back pay dating back to the day you made your intent to file known (if you are found to have a completely disabling condition). The following article discussed receiving disability benefits and workers' compensation.