Most workers in the Stockton area understand that they are entitled to workers' compensation benefits if they suffer an injury while working. Many also understand that they may be eligible for Social Security Disability Income benefits if they become permanently disabled. The exact relationship between the two disability programs is often complex and confusing, and an understanding of the basic elements of each program can be helpful in filing a claim for benefits.
It is not uncommon for a Social Security Disability claim to spur from a workplace accident. However, many claimants do not realize that any worker's compensation funds received can reduce the amount of disability benefits to be received. The Social Security Administration offers a publication describing these rules in detail, which can be viewed here.
If you are injured at your place of work in California, you will likely be required to seek reimbursement for any wages that are lost due to the injury or illness, along with payment for medical care, through state's workers' compensation system. At first blush, the idea of filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits may not seem all that onerous. However, the process can sometimes be anything but cut and dried.
Thanks to nearly two decades of rising claims for Social Security disability insurance in California and across the United States, claimants have been experiencing incredible wait times for benefits decisions and hearings - some have waited for as long as two years to see a hearing officer. Burgeoning claims, budgetary woes and understaffing have all contributed to the Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI program's struggle in delivering service and benefits to applicants and recipients.
The Social Security Disability program offers financial assistance to workers who have been injured or become ill and are unable to work for long periods of time. It is different from California's workers' compensation program, which only addresses injury and illness that occurs while on the job. Rather, Social Security Disability Insurance - or SSDI - is a federal program that is administered by the Social Security Administration or SSA.
Considerable attention from the media, the public and government watchdog agencies, like the Government Accounting Office (GAO), has been focused on the Social Security Association in recent months. The scrutiny has come in the wake of the beleaguered agency's struggles to deliver its services to the public. Clearly, this is a national problem, but the effects of the SSA's difficulties have been felt by thousands upon thousands of California citizens, as well.
If a California worker is injured on the job - that is, at their place of work and while they are performing their prescribed job duties - they can look to workers' compensation for help with medical expenses and any lost wages they suffer as a result of the injury. On the other hand, if the injury they suffered prevents them from returning to work for a considerable length of time or inhibits their ability to work altogether, it is possible that the worker may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
In California, people who have a debilitating respiratory disorder that prevents them from working may be able to obtain financial assistance from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Benefits from SSDI are administered by the federal government and disbursed from a trust to which U.S. workers contribute throughout the course of their careers. The contributions are made as part of every worker's payroll withholdings.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claimants in California, as in the rest of the United States, have been plagued by delays in both initial claims decisions and most egregiously, in the wait times for hearings before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), in a recently-released report, says that crushing workloads and a failure to fully adopt technologies that would increase efficiencies at the Social Security Administration (SSA) is part of what is causing the delays. The report goes on to detail the challenges that SSA faces in trying to serve SSDI benefits claimaints.