Natalia Jofre: Hello, and welcome to Hill & Ponton’s social security disability blog. I’m Natalia Jofre, I’m the social security section director here at our office.
Shelly Mark: I am Shelly Mark. I am the senior social security attorney.
Natalia Jofre: Today, we wanted to talk to you about social security disability and workers compensation. A lot of people get hurt on the job, can’t continue working. It’s not always a life-changing event, but many times it is to where you can no longer do the type of work you used to do or you can no longer work completely. There’s differences there. We’ve seen the gamut. Just because you have a work comp injury doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to qualify for social security.
Shelly Mark: Correct.
Natalia Jofre: I think that what we first need to discuss is that sometimes whether you can still qualify for social security is going to depend on your age. Right?
Shelly Mark: That’s true.
Natalia Jofre: If you’re a younger individual that can’t do your type of work anymore, the same rules aren’t going to apply than if you’re 55 and that’s the situation, and maybe you’re released to light duty. Can you speak a little bit to that?
Shelly Mark: Sure. That’s correct. Usually, in a workers comp claim, you’re going to be going to a workers comp doctor, and they’re going to be putting limitations on you as far as whether you can perform light work or sedentary work or the amount of weight you can lift, or whatever it is. Those limitations, like you said, they’re going to come into play with social security determining whether you’re disabled, and the biggest factor there will probably be the age.
Shelly Mark: If you have a 55-year-old construction worker who’s placed on a restriction of sedentary work, then that would be a claim with social security that would be granted, very likely. If you have a 35-year-old construction worker who was placed on light or sedentary work, that would be a situation where social security would come back and say, “Okay, let’s do some vocational rehabilitation or some retraining to find some type of work that would fit those limitations.”
Natalia Jofre: Right. I would say that if you’re out of work and don’t expect to return to work for at least a year or more, this isn’t something you should think about. You should file your application for benefits immediately. The longer you wait, the more benefits you will lose or you’ll be penalized. I have had cases where people stopped working, workers comp was paying them, and so they figured, “I don’t really need the social security,” they let all these years go by, and then they either lost a significant amount of benefits or then they looked at having a date last insured issue, which we’ve talked about, we did a whole series on that, and then that further complicates the case.
Shelly Mark: Definitely.
Natalia Jofre: If you have questions regarding whether you think you can qualify, should apply, or how you should proceed regarding your specific situation, then I would tell you to go ahead and call our office or someone else if you feel like you should. I do want to also clarify, we’re going to do an entire series on workers compensation. We’re going to get into a lot of the technicalities. If you’re interested in knowing about workers compensation and how it works with social security, please stay tuned for more videos on that.
Shelly Mark: That sounds great.
Natalia Jofre: If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to call our office or visit our website. Thank you.
Shelly Mark: Thank you.