Injured or sick workers in and around Mercer County will likely need all of the financial help they can get should they suffer a disability and not be able to return to their profession.

If their injury or illness is work-related, then they may have a number of options available to them.

For one, they may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits under the laws of Pennsylvania. These benefits can go a long way in covering medical bills and lost wages, but they don’t always pay for everything.

So long as they qualify, an injured or sick Hermitage worker can also get Social Security Disability Income, or SSDI, through the federal Social Security Administration. However, there are some important things to keep in mind.

They are different processes

For one, applying for Social Security is a separate process which requires a separate application and is covered by different rules than Pennsylvania workers’ compensation.

One of the big differences between the two programs is that, to get Social Security,  person has to have a condition which prevents him from returning to his current job or equivalent substitute work. The disability must be long term, lasting for at least a year or likely to result in death.

Work comp, on the other hand, applies to all work-related injuries and illnesses.

On the flip side, like work comp, Social Security is a no-fault program, meaning that a worker need not prove her accident was someone else’s responsibility before qualifying for benefits.

There is a cap on Social Security payments

Those who are receiving workers’ compensation payments for lost wages should also be aware that the Social Security Administration may cap their SSDI benefits.

Specifically, the Administration has a rule that, between work comp and Social Security, a person cannot receive more than 80% of his average gross wage before the disability. For example, if a person earned $4,000 a month prior to disability, then 80% is $3,200.

So, if she is receiving $2,000 a month in work comp, the most she can receive in Social Security is $1,200 a month.