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Were you injured in a workplace accident or are you suffering from an occupational disease? If so, you’ll soon learn that while workers’ compensation benefits are essential to injured workers, they do not equal 100% of an employee’s wages.

According to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, “The amount that a worker receives is based on his/her average weekly wage for the previous year.” To see the formula for calculating benefits, click HERE.

While receiving workers’ compensation benefits, injured workers have to take a reduction in pay. Due to this factor, it’s only natural for injured or ill workers to wonder, “Can I also apply for Social Security disability benefits?” According to the Board, if a worker becomes seriously disabled and the condition is permanent or expected to last at least 12 months, the worker may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits in addition to workers’ compensation benefits.


This is the deal: While workers’ compensation does not bar you from applying for Social Security disability benefits, it can affect the amount of your disability benefits. In other words, you cannot collect 100% of your previous wages.

“If you receive workers’ compensation or other public disability benefits, AND Social Security disability benefits, the total amount of these benefits can’t exceed 80 percent of your average current earnings before you became disabled,” says the Social Security Administration.

Since the total amount of benefits you receive from workers’ comp and SSDI cannot exceed 80 percent of what you were earning before, this means that any excess would be deducted from your Social Security payments – not your workers’ comp benefits.

So, is it still worth applying for SSDI? Absolutely, especially if your medical condition is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Since you paid Social Security taxes all of these years, you should take advantage of them if your condition meets the SSA’s definition of a “disability.” What’s more, depending on the facts of your case, you may also be entitled to compensation from a third-party. It’s important to discuss this possibility with an attorney from our firm because it could mean additional compensation.

Related: How Workers’ Comp Affects Disability

To file a workers’ compensation claim on Long Island or anywhere else in New York, contact Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman.