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SSDI Benefits

Massachusetts Social Security Disability Attorneys

The Massachusetts Social Security disability lawyers at Kantrovitz and Associates are established advocates in disability law. For over 25 years, we have recovered Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and workers’ compensation benefits for injured workers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. At Kantrovitz & Associates, we do not get paid unless you do.

SSDI Basics

SSDI is funded by payroll taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Both workers and employers pay FICA taxes that go toward benefits administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The program protects totally disabled employees who cannot work for one year or more. Injured workers receive monthly cash payments and qualify for Medicare 24 months after receiving SSDI. Eligible spouses, parents, and unmarried children may also qualify for up to 50% of the benefit amount, depending on the employee’s work history.

Social Security Disability Insurance vs. Workers’ Compensation

SSDI differs from workers’ compensation benefits in many ways. While both programs award cash benefits to injured workers, they have different criteria to determine eligibility:

  • For SSDI, workers must meet Social Security’s definition of “disabled” to be eligible
  • SSDI eligibility generally requires earning 10 years’ worth of “work credits”
    • Coverage does not begin on first day of employment
  • Workers’ compensation requires relationship between injury and work
  • Once eligible, workers receive SSDI, even if disability is not job-related
  • Workers pay taxes that fund SSDI benefits; employers pay workers’ compensation
  • SSDI benefits require at least 1 year of total disability preventing return to employment
    • Workers’ compensation requires at least 5 days of partial or total disability
  • The federal SSA, rather than the state Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), handles SSDI benefits

Whereas workers’ compensation depends on the severity and duration of the injury, SSDI continues as long as total disability prevents the employee from returning to work. But injured workers must have worked recently enough and accrued sufficient work credits to receive SSDI.

SSDI Affects Cost of Living (COLA) Increase

SSDI benefits do not affect payment or eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. However, they may affect COLA increases in workers’ compensation benefits. Under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 152, Sections 34 and 35:

  • Certain workers are still eligible for COLA increases if they
    • Suffer permanent and total disability and
    • Injury occurred more than 2 years ago; or
    • They receive partial disability benefits and
    • Disability occurred before Dec. 23, 1991
  • Workers collecting temporary total disability not eligible

Each year, the DIA determines the COLA increase amount, which is automatically paid to eligible workers. No application is required. COLA increases do not reduce SSDI payments.

“Disability” and Rules

Except for blind or younger disabled employees, SSDI generally requires that workers earn at least 20 Social Security credits in the last 10 years preceding their disability. After a 5-month waiting period, workers begin receiving benefits for the 6th full month after the disability began. SSA defines “disability” as a long-term injury or illness that prevents eligible workers from working or earning their full potential. The disability must be so severe that basic work activities are impossible, or death is the expected result. Disabled workers who lack sufficient credits to get SSDI but need financial assistance may still qualify for Supplemental Security Income.

Helping You Recover SSDI Benefits

If you have questions regarding your eligibility for SSDI, ask the Massachusetts Social Security disability attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates today. For over 25 years, we have helped injured workers maximize their benefits and recover the compensation they deserve. Our Boston office serves Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth, Merrimack River, and other counties, as well as workers injured outside of Massachusetts. Call (800) 367-9871 for a free consultation or contact us online.

Workers’ Compensation