Most Connecticut residents are aware that the state’s workers’ compensation program provides certain payments to persons who are injured on the job. They may also know that the federal Social Security Act provides benefits to persons who are disabled. Most people do not, however, understand how the two systems work together or which one covers work-related injuries. This post will provide an overview of the eligibility requirements for workers’ compensation benefits under state law and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits under federal law.

Eligibility for benefits rests on the nature and cause of the disability. Under Connecticut’s workers compensation law, anyone who suffers an injury or illness that is related to the person’s employment is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits may include medical expenses, replacement income, rehabilitation, and retraining expenses. It can also include payment for lost earning capacity. Workers’ compensation benefits are paid regardless of the extent and duration of any disability, although those factors will affect the amount of the benefits that are paid.

To be eligible for SSDI benefits, a person must be adjudged to be disabled by an injury or illness that will last at least one year or is likely to result in death. The cause of the disabling injury or illness is usually irrelevant; that is, the injury or illness need not be work-related. The Social Security Administration has promulgated extensive regulations that define the medical conditions that are regarded as disabling. If a person is disabled by a cause not listed in the regulations, then that person can submit an application with medical opinions attesting to the degree and severity of the disability.

Applying for either workers’ compensation benefits or SSDI benefits can be a lengthy and burdensome task. Anyone who is contemplating applying for either type of benefit, or both types, may wish to consult a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the two benefit systems for assistance in completing and filing the application and in appealing an adverse decision.

Source: Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission, “About Workers’ Compensation,” accessed on Oct. 22, 2017