If you’re injured while on the job, the first thing you may want to look into is workers’ compensation. This can be used both in the immediate aftermath of the injury — to pay for your instant medical costs, for example — and for some of the long-term costs that you may run into, such as the cost of rehab.
At the same time, if the injury is so severe that you are disabled, you may be able to get payments from Social Security Disability Insurance, commonly known as DI or SSDI.
On the grand scale, both of these programs are huge in terms of how much they pay out annually. The total paid out by workers’ compensation plans on the state level — for all 50 states, and not just North Carolina — is in the realm of $60 billion. Back in 2008, Social Security Disability Insurance also paid out a total of $95 billion.
What is perhaps most important for you to understand about these programs is that they can be used at the same time. If you qualify for and accept workers’ compensation payments, that does not exclude you from eligibility for SSDI. You can apply for both and be granted multiple payments.
Of course, each case is different, and there are many cases in which workers only qualify for one or the other, but you never want to assume that receiving one payment means it’s a waste of time to apply for the other. Make sure you fully understand all of your legal rights to compensation after the injury takes place.
Source: U.S. Social Security Administration, “Workplace Injuries and the Take-Up of Social Security Disability Benefits,” Paul O’Leary, Leslie I. Boden, Seth A. Seabury, Al Ozonoff and Ethan Scherer, accessed Sep. 18, 2015