This post discusses the relationship between NC Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability benefits. Read on for how they affect each other in North Carolina.
NC Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation is available to North Carolina employees who are injured on the job. Employers in North Carolina with three or more employees are required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. If an employee gets hurt they must inform their employer and file a claim with the NCIC (North Carolina Industrial Commission). If their claim is approved they can receive weekly WC payments, a lump sum settlement or both. If the claim is denied, an injured worker will have to file a request for hearing with the NCIC and be awarded to receive any benefits.
Social Security Disability
Social Security Disability is a federal program which is available to disabled workers who are found disabled under Social Security’s five step evaluation. Workers must have enough credits to be disability insured. If a client is approved, they may receive back pay and then a monthly disability check.
NC Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability
Often clients believe that if they have been approved for Workers Compensation that they will automatically be approved for Social Security Disability. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The requirements for NC Workers Compensation benefits are very different from those required by the Social Security Administration. NC Workers’ Compensation cases involve assessing percentages of disability while Social Security has an “all or nothing” approach to disability.
Workers’ Comp ratings (percentages of disability) are usually assigned to specific body parts, not the whole person. For example, if you injure your leg at work and then pursue treatment, you can be assigned a permanent disability rating for your leg (for example 15-20%) at the completion of treatment. This does not tell the SSA how that 20% disability rating to your leg will affect the rest of your body nor what limitations you have so it has little value to the Social Security Administration when determining your disability. Social Security looks for specific limitations and the rationale for those limitations when examining medical evidence. While your Workers Compensation settlement may be considered by the Social Security Administration when they are deciding your case, it is not controlling.
If you are approved for weekly Workers’ Compensation benefits and Social Security Disability, your Social Security Disability benefits will be offset by your Workers Compensation benefits. This will result in a sizable reduction to your Social Security Disability benefits. However, when you receive a Worker’s Compensation settlement your settlement money is prorated over the rest of your life reducing your weekly WC benefits and thus reducing the amount of the SSD offset. In other words, ongoing weekly WC payments hurt you and WC settlements that are prorated over the rest of your life help you.
We represent Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation clients in Raleigh, Durham, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Smithfield, Louisburg, Chapel Hill, Roanoke Rapids and surrounding areas in North Carolina. We do not get paid unless you win! Call us today at (919) 615-3095.