If you’ve been injured at work and you can’t perform your job duties, are you entitled to workers’ comp payments and/or disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA)? Receiving the benefits you need begins by speaking with a Raleigh Social Security disability attorney.

What are the differences between the workers’ comp and Social Security disability programs? Who is eligible for these benefits? What will a North Carolina Social Security disability lawyer do to help you receive the benefits you deserve and need?

If you’ll continue reading this short discussion of Social Security and workers’ compensation benefits, you’ll learn the answers to these questions, and you’ll learn how to receive your Social Security and/or workers’ comp benefits as swiftly as possible.

When Can You Apply for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

If you’re injured at work, you’re probably eligible for workers’ comp benefits. The workers’ compensation system in this state is established and managed by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Employers buy workers’ comp insurance to cover employees injured on-the-job.

Whenever someone is injured on-the-job, that person may submit an injury claim to obtain workers’ compensation benefits to cover their medical expenses and their lost wages. An injured worker only has to prove the injury was work-related (or you fell ill due to your work).

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?

With several narrow exceptions, the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires all businesses that hire three or more employees to obtain workers’ compensation insurance or to qualify as self-insured employers in order to pay workers’ comp benefits to their employees.

Workers’ comp in North Carolina pays for the reasonable medical expenses that arise from a work-related illness or injury. Additionally, it pays temporary disability benefits for any days you don’t work for a maximum of five hundred weeks.

To receive workers’ comp benefits, you don’t have to show that anyone was negligent. Workers’ compensation is more like an insurance claim than a lawsuit.

Should You Speak to a Social Security Disability Attorney?

Although a workers’ comp claim isn’t a lawsuit, speaking to an attorney before you submit an application for benefits is a smart move. Your claim could be denied for a variety of reasons. However, your lawyer can make sure that your benefits application is complete and accurate.

Your lawyer will also be able to tell you about other benefits you may be qualified to receive – such as disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. In many workplace injury cases, workers’ comp isn’t necessarily the only option.

Workers’ compensation provides only minimal benefits. It does not cover personal suffering or pain, and it does not penalize negligent employers, unless they receive a willful OHSA violation. Workers’ compensation simply may not offer you enough if your illness or injury is permanently disabling.

What Does the Social Security Administration Offer?

If the incident that permanently disabled you did not happen in a way that was linked to your work, you are not going to qualify for workers’ comp benefits, although you might be eligible for benefits provided by the Social Security Administration.

Applying for Social Security disability benefits is even more complicated and confusing than applying for workers’ compensation benefits. Two disability programs are provided by the SSA:

  1.  If you have a condition the SSA classifies as a disability, and you worked for years and paid your Social Security taxes, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which pays benefits to disabled workers who aren’t yet retirement age.
  2.  A separate program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), provides benefits to blind or disabled low-income adults and children. If you’re disabled or blind, and you have limited assets and little or no income, you may qualify to receive SSI benefits.

What Mistake Should Injured Workers Avoid?

The one big mistake that an injured worker in North Carolina can make is not acquainting yourself with your options for compensation except for the basic workers’ comp benefits. If you’re injured on-the-job, these are your priorities:

  1.  Summon or seek medical help immediately.
  2.  As quickly as possible, inform your employer about your injury.
  3.  Schedule a meeting promptly with a Raleigh workers’ compensation attorney.
  4.  With your lawyer’s help, submit a claim for workers’ comp benefits.

Workers’ compensation benefits are available only to employees who’ve sustained on-the-job injuries, but SSI and SSDI benefits are made available to anyone who is disabled.

What Should You Know About Social Security Disability Benefits?

However, to qualify for SSI or SSDI benefits, your medical condition must satisfy the Social Security Administration’s narrow definition of the term “disability.” To submit a workers’ comp claim, you must be too ill or injured to work for a minimum of five partial or full work days.

The decision to approve or deny SSDI or SSI benefits is made exclusively by the Social Security Administration. If your doctor confirms that you’re disabled, that is only one of a variety of factors that the Social Security Administration considers when it processes a disability claim.

Have a Lawyer’s Help From the Very Beginning of the Process

About fifty percent of workers’ compensation claims in North Carolina are denied, and about the same percentage of SSDI and SSI claims are denied. Most people who are approved for either type of benefit are approved after an appeal, but appeals take time, and they’re complicated.

Whether you apply for workers’ comp benefits, SSDI, or SSI, having the advice and services of a Raleigh Social Security disability attorney from the very beginning of the process ensures that your paperwork is accurate, complete, and meets any deadline requirements.

That way, when and if you are denied the benefits you’ve applied for, you’ll already be represented by a lawyer who knows your case and who knows how to prevail with an appeal to the Social Security Administration or the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

What Else Do Injured Workers Need to Know?

If you’re disabled, and if you anticipate being disabled for a minimum of one year (or if you are terminally ill), and if you’ve also worked and paid Social Security taxes, you might be able to receive workers’ comp and SSDI benefits at the same time, but he DDSI benefits will be offset by the amount of comp benefits. .

Every injured worker’s situation is unique, so as soon as a health care professional confirms that you can’t work, seek personalized advice from a North Carolina Social Security disability lawyer.

Applying for benefits and appealing a denial of benefits may be difficult if you’re injured or ill, but if you are eligible for benefits, and your attorney can prove that you’re eligible, you’ll receive the benefits you need, deserve, and are entitled to under North Carolina and federal law.