After a workplace injury in Florida, an employee can apply for Florida workers’ compensation benefits and be reimbursed for medical bills and lost wages. Some injured workers may not realize they’re also eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI. You can receive both workers’ comp and SSDI benefits in Florida. However, you may see a reduction in your workers’ compensation check. State law says that the two combined can’t exceed 80 percent of your average weekly wage earned before your injury, per the Florida Department of Financial Services.
The average weekly wage, also called AWW, is an employee’s earning capacity before their injury. It’s calculated by adding pre-tax wages from the 13 weeks preceding the accident and dividing that total by 13. In Florida, the maximum weekly compensation rate is $1,011. You’re typically entitled to 66 ⅔ percent of your average weekly wage when receiving temporary disability benefits. The Social Security Administration will adjust your benefits to ensure you don’t receive more than 80% of your average weekly wage.
Let’s say you earned an average of $2,000 a month before you were injured. You find out that you are eligible for $1,000 monthly workers’ comp benefits and $1,000 monthly Social Security payments, which would match your previous income. Because you’re only allowed to receive 80% of your previous average earnings ($1,600 in this case), the Social Security Administration would reduce your SSDI earnings by $400. If you stop receiving workers’ comp benefits but are still eligible for Social Security payments, the Social Security Administration could adjust your benefits again.
What Is Social Security Disability Insurance?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides benefits for disabled workers who have worked in jobs covered by Social Security, where they paid taxes. The amount you’re eligible for will vary, but the average injured worker will see about $1,234 each month from the Social Security Administration. The process to qualify for SSDI is thorough, and you’re required to send an extensive amount of information with your application. These are a few things you will be asked to submit:
- Employment history
- A list of medical treatments you’ve received
- Contact information for the doctor or hospital that treated you
- Bank routing and account numbers
- How much money you earn
- Whether you’ve applied for workers’ compensation benefits
After a workplace accident, your priority is to notify your employer and apply for workers’ compensation benefits. The sooner you report the incident, the better off you are, and Floridian workers should receive their first check within three weeks of notifying a workplace about the injury. You can receive workers’ comp benefits temporarily and return to work soon after. In contrast, Social Security benefits usually have a five-month waiting period, and payment doesn’t begin until the sixth full month of disability. To qualify for SSDI assistance, you must have a “severe medical condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or result in death.” You can apply online, by phone, or in person at your local Social Security office.
Applying for Workers’ Comp and Social Security Benefits
Even if you qualify for workers’ comp and social security payments, there’s still a chance that you’ll be wrongly denied. When you are already dealing with the physical and emotional toll of an injury, it’s easy to give up on receiving benefits instead of committing to the toll of an arduous appeals process. A Florida workers’ comp lawyer who’s also familiar with Social Security disability requirements can provide guidance before you apply for either benefit program or answer questions if your claim is denied and you need to appeal. You’re entitled to receive both Florida workers’ comp and social security disability benefits after a workplace injury, and a workers’ comp attorney can help you get those payments.
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