Social security is one of a few ways to get compensation, financial assistance, and medical support for a disability. Qualifying for other major programs will require proving specific circumstances, but don't stick to a single compensation system in an attempt to stay focused. Here are a few details on managing multiple compensation claims for the same condition while staying legal and efficient.
Multiple Compensation Options Are Legal. Double Dipping Isn't
Some people assume that it's not possible or not legal to apply to more than one compensation system, such as working with social security disability and workers compensation at the same time.
You can and should apply to every system that seems like it could help your situation. The problem begins when you're approved for more than one system and receiving money from more than one system.
It's not difficult to work through multiple systems once you've been approved. Every system has some sort of income-reporting requirement, whether it's from a part-time job when your disability isn't causing as much of a problem or if you're getting paid from workers comp and social security.
Report the income. It's as simple as that, but like any system that involves paperwork, mistakes could happen. An office could forget to file your report properly, or a system error may not show that you've reported a certain amount. Your paperwork may even arrive under an overzealous, new employee who sees your income and decides to act out of outrage rather than confirming the issue.
Save copies of your reports, record your calls when you report, and send emails to yourself with your documentation. As long as you can prove that you sent the income report to the system with their required paperwork form--or a reasonable alternative, such as faxing or emailing the proof--you can win any challenge that happens when the system makes a mistake.
A printer, scanner, and computer are lifesavers in this case, but if you're not tech savvy, just contact an attorney for help with making sure your reporting can be backed up if the system loses your report.
What Compensation Systems Are Available?
Here are a few compensation in the United States that cover different types of disabilities or income protection programs. Keep in mind that specific companies, states, counties, and cities may have additional programs available.
- Social Security - A social safety net that can provide basic income support for US citizens and qualifying immigrants based on the current cost of living. You are allowed to work while on Social Security, but there are maximum limits and income must be reported.
- Workers Compensation (Workers Comp) - Medical bill and wage/salary replacement for people injured on the job. Can transfer to social security after workers comp expires.
- Veterans Affairs (VA) Disability - Medical and monetary compensation for military/government service-connected disabilities. Work at any income level is possible without reducing VA disability except for specific disability levels, which are explained upon award.
- Vocational Rehabilitation - A state-level department for retraining into a new career path. Usually activated by the other compensation systems, but can be available for certain manageable disabilities. May include college vouchers or industry certifications.
- Personal Injury Legal Claims - A civil lawsuit brought against a person or group that is accused of causing or being responsible for an injury or disability.
Contact a social security attorney to discuss filing for social security while transferring your details to any of the above programs at the same time.