The two largest government disability benefit programs are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Workers' Compensation program. One of the main differences between the two programs is that Workers' Compensation provides benefits to disabilities that arise out of employment activity while disabilities that occur in or out of the workplace can qualify for SSDI. SSDI is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

SSDI also only covers long-term disabilities that prevent a person from being able to work. Workers’ Compensation offers coverage for long-term and short-term disabilities. There is a five month waiting period before SSDI benefits can take effect, whereas Workers' Compensation payments become available almost right away upon a worker's initial absence from work due to the injury or impairment.

Can a disabled worker get both SSDI and Workers' Comp?

If an individual turns out to be eligible for both, the two programs can both be paid but the total amount can't exceed 80% of the worker's monthly income. In most cases, SSDI is reduced in order to keep the payment from exceeding the 80% maximum. This is known as the workers' compensation offset. In some states, through and arrangement with the federal government, have the workers' compensation payments reduced, which is known as the reverse offset.

One thing that can be noted is that at age 65, a person who receives SSDI has their payments are converted to Social Security retirement benefits. Retirement benefits are not subject to the Workers' Compensation offset.

This offset, depending on the structure of the settlement, can greatly reduce a your monthly income. Workers' Compensation settlements will often come in the form of a lump sum.

The SSA will consider the lump sum to be in the form of ongoing payments. Without specific terms spelled out in your workers comp settlement, the SSA can make the calculations by dividing the lump sum by the amount you received prior to your settlement and this will determine the number off weeks or months that the offset would apply against your SSDI benefits. In some cases the period of the offset can last up to two years or more leaving little to none of your SSDI benefits for that time period.

Unless the terms of the settlement specify the structure of the payments or any deductions such as attorney fees this is most likely how the SSA will calculate your offset. This can vary from one state to another but in general, the structuring of your settlement could significantly affect your monthly income and the benefits you are allowed to receive through both SSDI and workers comp.