Denver Workers Compensation and Disability Lawyers Explain The Difference between Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability
Thanks to established labor policy, compensation systems have been set up for when an employee or a worker suffers a bad injury at work such as a fall or a blast. In the state of Colorado, there are two types of compensation which an injured worker may avail: the Social Security Disability from the Social Security Administration or the Permanent Total Disability under the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Law. Don’t know which one you can avail? Below is a simplified guide which compares and contrasts the difference between the two compensation options.
The qualifications for availing either the Social Security Disability or Permanent Total Disability vary.
Anyone who has been a member in good standing (meaning, all fees have been religiously paid) in the social security system for at least five years preceding an injury may avail of Social Security Disability. This option is more comprehensive in scope and considers all major prescriptions like hypertension, diabetes, etc., as well as injuries, whether work-related or not, in assessing your case.
On the other hand, the Permanent Total Disability option may only be availed of when returning to work is made absolutely impossible by the work-related injury. It is more restrictive in the sense that pre-existing conditions like hypertension etc. are not covered and should not be the main injury that prevents resumption to work.
Age as a factor of eligibility is also one of the stark differences between the two compensation systems. Social Security Disability uses a grid system, starting at age 45 and ending at age 65 in increments of five years. In simple terms, the older applicants are more likely to qualify under the SS Disability system. This is not the same with Workers’ Compensation. Permanent Total Disability will only look at one thing: whether an injured worker is fit to work. Any work, at that. This includes casual jobs with minimum wage salary.
Application and processing
Another difference lies in the presentation and processing of claims. Social Security Disability cases are filed with the Social Security Administration. This is a national office and the merits of claims are processed by a federal SSA judge in comparison with other national cases.
Meanwhile, Permanent Total Disability under the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Law is a state-administered institution and it would be best to consult a Colorado lawyer when filing a claim in order to prepare its merits. As discussed above, the most primary criterion for qualifying under Permanent Total Disability is capacity to work in general. The claim will be heard by a judge who will consider the findings of doctors and vocational specialists. This is where a Colorado disability lawyer comes in hand. When the claim is heard and the judge decides that you don’t qualify, a competent lawyer can still argue on your behalf for some compensation to cover your medical bills and loss of earnings, or make you qualify for some other compensation more fitting like a Permanent Partial Disability.
As it stands now, the process can be overwhelming with all its complexities. Depending on the preparation of the claim, an injured worker may qualify for both Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation, either of the two, or none at all. It is most recommended to consult a competent and experienced legal counsel.
Still confused? Kaplan Morrell, Denver disabiilty attorneys and Denvr workers compensation attorneys are here to help you understand further these two concepts. For many years, we have been helping workers claim what is due to them from their employers and/or other concerned parties.