If I get hurt at work, can I get Social Security disability?

Many people in Oklahoma and, for that matter, throughout the country wind up unable to do their jobs or engage in any employment because they get hurt in a work accident. One question that may come to the mind of these people is whether they can draw disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, as there is a common impression that those benefits are for people who do not work because they never could or had some sort of medical issues not directly related to work.

The reality is that disability benefits are available to anyone who meets the Administration’s definition of a disabled person. Although there are many requirements, often strict, that a person must meet in order to qualify for disability, the Administration rarely if ever asks what caused a person’s disability in the first place.

The key question is whether someone can work, so if a person cannot stay in the workforce because of an accident on the job, then he or she may qualify for disability benefits. One possible wrinkle in this, however, is that many people who get hurt while at work oftentimes also qualify for workers’ compensation payments.

It is not prohibited for a person to get both workers’ compensation benefits and draw disability through Social Security. However, a person who does so may only recover up to 80 percent of his or her lost income, that is, “average current earnings,” between the two payments. If the sum of workers’ compensation and disability payments exceeds the 80 percent threshold, the Administration will reduce the benefits accordingly.

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Teague & Wetsel, PLLC
1741 West 33rd Street, Suite 120
Edmond, OK 73013

Telephone: 405-285-9200
Fax: 405-509-2362

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