Understanding the Difference Between Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability Benefits

When you’re facing an illness or injury that prevents you from going to work, the stress of mounting bills and lost wages can feel overwhelming. Your focus should be on your health. Fortunately, if you’ve been hurt on the job in the state of Wisconsin you’re entitled to certain benefits to help provide you with financial support.

By now, you’ve probably heard about workers’ compensation and social security disability benefits. While these programs often sound similar, they both include specific eligibility requirements. Understanding the difference between workers’ compensation and social security disability benefits at the forefront can help you file the best claim for your unique situation.  

The Difference Between Workers’ Comp and SSD 

All companies are required to have compensation insurance to protect their workers. If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’s compensation provides medical and wage benefits for employees who may need to take time off work to heal, or who are forced to work at a reduced level following an injury. It may also cover future wages if an employee becomes disabled.  

If your injury prevents you from being able to perform in your current role, you may also be eligible to have vocational retraining costs covered under the program, or receive additional compensation if the injury is more serious in nature. 

A few common workplace injuries include: 

  • Back and neck injuries 
  • Chemical exposure & pulmonary issues
  • Head injuries 
  • Repetitive stress 
  • Joint injuries to arms and legs
  • Paralysis or loss of limbs 
  • Psychiatric claims, including PTSD


There are times when a work injury results in a permanent disability or an ongoing medical condition that prevents you from being able to return to work. In these cases, Social Security Disability benefits are an additional option.

Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security Disability at the same time.

When to seek legal representation  

There are many factors that can affect the outcome of your case. Seeking an experienced workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability attorney is your best bet at receiving the benefits you deserve. You should consider hiring an attorney if:

  • You received a denial letter 
  • Your employer disputes the injury is work-related
  • You can’t perform your work tasks due to your health
  • You’ve been fired or laid off after filing a claim
  • You have a pre-existing condition
  • You can’t get the medical treatment you need
  • You’re receiving other government benefits
  • You have an upcoming court hearing related to work injury
  • Workers’ comp is not covering incurred medical bills    

We know that being injured at work can be a stressful experience. Yet, trying to navigate the complex claims process on top of trying to heal can lead to errors in your filing. These technicalities give employers and insurance providers room to issue a denial. It’s best to seek legal representation as early in the process as you can.  

Attorney Rachel Fitzgerald has been helping Wisconsin’s hard workers fight for workers’ compensation and SSD benefits for over 15 years. If you have questions about your case or how to move forward, call Fitzgerald Law Firm for a free consultation today.  

Written by
Fitzgerald Law Firm