After your debilitating accident on the job site in Pennsylvania, you probably went straight to the emergency department of the nearest hospital. Once you learned that your injuries will keep you from returning to work, your first thought may have been what you will do without the income. 

As the Social Security Administration explains, your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance to cover your medical costs, and your benefits will include a portion of your wages. However, that portion is two-thirds of your average earnings. The average may be calculated in a number of different ways, but the result is still going to be considerably less than your paychecks.

Fortunately, you do have the option to apply for Social Security disability benefits, too. These benefits come from a completely different program, and although your eligibility does depend on your work history, it has nothing to do with whether your permanent disability stems from a work accident. Instead, it is based on whether you can achieve gainful employment in your newly reduced physical circumstances.

Less fortunate is the fact that receiving both WC and SSD benefits will still not equal your full earnings. SSD benefits pay 80 percent of your average wages, but if your WC benefits cover 66 percent, the SSD benefits only make up the 14 percent that takes you up to the limit. 

You may qualify for other programs that are not offset by your total WC and SSD benefits, and other factors may apply. Therefore, this general information should not be interpreted as legal advice.