Workers’ Compensation Benefits vs. Social Security Disability Benefits (Pt. 1)

When a workplace injury is severe enough to result in permanent impairments, the injured person may be able to seek compensation for his injuries and losses via the Colorado workers’ compensation system and/or via the Social Security disability system. While the amounts of these benefits can differ (as can the process of obtaining these benefits), so too can the qualifications for eligibility.

In this two part blog, we will take a closer look at the differences between these two types of benefits to shed some light on whether you may qualify for either or both after a work injury has left you with a permanent impairment. Keep in mind, however, that the information presented herein is general and that you should contact one of our Denver workers’ compensation attorneys for more specific information and advice regarding your case.

Difference 1 – People have to have paid Social Security taxes to qualify for disability benefits.

In fact, people who are applying for Social Security disability benefits have to have a history of having paid these taxes within the past 5 years – otherwise, they will likely not qualify for federal disability benefits.

In contrast, there is no specific tax that people have to have paid in order to qualify for Permanent Total Disability (or other benefits) under the Colorado workers’ compensation system. Instead, for workers’ compensation benefits, it’s only necessary that a person sustained his injury at work or while he was on duty.

Difference 2 – The determination process for each system is unique.

While determinations regarding Social Security disability cases will typically be made by a judge during a hearing, with workers’ compensation cases, the decision is generally made as a result of an administrative process (which is overseen by a specific state institution; in Colorado, this process will be overseen by the Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation, which is managed by the state’s Department of Labor & Employment).

What this ultimately means is that preparing for these cases will proceed very differently and that the appeals process will also be unique to each system.

For our continued discussion regarding the important differences between Social Security disability and workers’ compensation benefits, be sure to look for the second part of this blog that will be posted soon.

Denver Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Law Office of Steven J. Picardi

With more than 30 years of combined workers’ compensation experience, the Denver workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Office of Steven J. Picardi have extensive knowledge of Colorado workers’ compensation law, strong credentials and a record of success that consistently allows them to effectively represent injured employees in all phases of workers’ compensation claims and litigation. Our firm’s lawyers remain abreast of the latest changes in workers’ compensation laws and are ready to use their skills and knowledge to your advantage.

For experienced legal advocacy in defending or filing a workers’ compensation claim, contact the Picardi Law Firm for a consultation by calling (303) 778-8881 or by emailing us using the form at the top of the screen.

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