You were recently hurt on the job and you’re going through the process necessary to obtain workers’ compensation, but a friend or a relative tells you that you should file for Social Security Disability (SSDI), instead.
What’s the difference? Well, there are quite a few, but here’s what you need to understand:
- Social Security Disability takes a long time to start.
Under Florida’s rules, workers’ comp benefits start on the eighth day of your disability if your condition lasts less than 22 days. If your condition lasts (or is expected to last) longer, you are allowed benefits from the very first day of disability.
Social Security Disability takes significantly longer to step into action. Even if you filed a claim and were approved immediately, there is a five-month waiting period from the onset of your disability before Social Security will pay.
- Social Security Disability is an “all-or-nothing” system.
With workers’ comp, you may be eligible for different types of disability payments, some of them designed to meet immediate needs including “temporary total” and “temporary partial” disability benefits. You may also eventually be able to maintain some of your benefits even after you return to work on restrictions or via a light-duty position. These provisions are unique to workers’ comp, however.
Social Security Disability only pays benefits if you are totally disabled from any kind of substantial work activity, whether it was in your former occupation or another. Plus, your condition must be expected to last (or have already lasted) a full year before you become eligible for anything.
You may find yourself looking harder at an SSDI claim if you don’t fully recover from your injuries. For now, however, you may want to focus on getting your workers’ compensation claim approved.