Most Oklahomans with work-related injuries or illnesses are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits vary depending on the severity of the injury or illness. If you have a disabling injury that permanently prevents you from performing any type of work, you may qualify for permanent total disability benefits. But if you are still capable of performing alternative work, you may qualify for permanent partial impairment benefits instead.
Oklahoma workers’ compensation benefits
There are several types of workers’ compensation benefits available to injured workers in Oklahoma, including:
- Medical benefits
- Temporary disability benefits
- Permanent disability benefits
- Vocational retraining benefits
- Death benefits
Medical benefits cover medical expenses that were incurred as a result of a work-related injury; temporary and permanent disability benefits cover the injured worker’s lost wages. If a worker is unable to return to his or her pre-injury job, vocational retraining benefits can help teach new skills so the worker can find other employment. Death benefits are awarded to the family of an employee who suffers a fatal work-related injury.
The Social Security Administration’s definition of disability is different from other programs. The SSA does not pay for partial or temporary disabilities; only total disabilities are covered. The SSA’s definition of “disability” is based on whether you are able to do a substantial amount of work. They consider the following items as qualifying you as disabled:
- You cannot work in the same line of work as you did before;
- You cannot take on other types of work because of your medical condition; and
- Your disability is expected to last (or has lasted) for one year or will result in death.
The SSA has a list of medical conditions that are considered so severe that they automatically qualify you as disabled. If your disability is not on the list, then the SSA will decide if it is equal to one of the conditions that are on the list. If they determine that it is, then they will find that you are disabled. If they determine that it is not equal to one of the conditions on the list, there are more steps to take.
Many people with serious, long-term work-related injuries qualify for both workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. It is possible to receive both types of benefits at the same time, but the benefits may be reduced. According to the SSA, the total amount of workers’ compensation and disability benefits awarded to you cannot exceed 80% of your average earnings. If it is higher than 80% of your average earnings, the SSA will reduce your disability benefits to keep you under this limit.
If you are disabled, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our attorneys guide you through the process of obtaining Social Security disability benefits. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.