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The interplay between workers' compensation and SSD benefits

Of the millions of people who apply for Social Security Disability benefits each year, many of them are doing so because they suffered a work-related injury. As a result, these people are unable to work and need to find a way to make up the difference for these lost wages in their household finances.

The inability to work can be very frustrating, and the fact that there may be a need to submit a government application for financial benefits can make things worse. And, for those who suffered a work injury, there can be a complex interplay between two different benefits: workers' compensation and Social Security Disability.

For those who may not know, workers' compensation is an insurance program that many employers are obligated to participate in if they have the requisite number of employees. When an employee is injured on the job -- no matter who is at fault -- that employee can apply to receive workers' compensation while they are recuperating from their injury.

But what happens if the injury is so severe that the worker is disabled for the long term? In those situations, the worker may receive a payout from workers' compensation because the program won't just keep making payments if the worker isn't recovering. It is after this compensation ends that the injured worker will likely begin to consider applying for Social Security Disability benefits if they still can't return to work. Although going through another application process for a different set of financial benefits may be frustrating, it is absolutely necessary for most Los Angeles residents who end up in this type of situation because they need the funds to pay for their household expenses.

Source: SSA.gov, "Workplace Injuries and the Take-Up of Social Security Disability Benefits," accessed on Sept. 27, 2014

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