Many Massachusetts residents suffer from an injury or illness that prevents them from working. Some of these individuals rely on workers’ compensation benefits, and some rely on Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Understanding the differences and similarities of these programs can help a person obtain the maximum financial benefit from these two programs.
Massachusetts’ workers compensation program is founded on the premise that all workers in the state should receive compensation if they are injured on the job. The amount of benefit payable to each worker depends upon their preinjury wage or salary and the seriousness of the injury.
Every Massachusetts business is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that guarantees the availability of funds to pay the injured worker. Insurance companies frequently deny workers’ comp claims, and these disputed claims are subject to a hearing before a claims examiner.
The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) operates a system of disability insurance that provides financial assistance for individuals who become totally and permanently disabled. To obtain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, a person must have accumulated sufficient work credits to be eligible for the program.
To file a claim, an individual must provide a written opinion from a competent healthcare professional that the claimant is permanently and totally disabled. Proof of permanence can be based on a healthcare professional’s opinion or medical evidence that the disease or condition prevents the claimant from engaging in gainful employment and that it is either permanent or will result in the claimant’s death within 1 year.
Most first-time SSDI claims are denied, and the SSA has adopted regulations that provide an extensive right to appeal the denial.
Coordination of benefits
Persons rarely receive both SSDI benefits and workers’ compensation benefits. However, the benefits from both programs are adjusted to reflect the beneficiary’s receipt of funds from each program.
Sensible legal advice
Anyone who has suffered a work-related injury or has contracted a disabling illness may wish to consult a knowledgeable attorney before seeking benefits from either program.