Social Security Disability Benefits and Total Temporary Disability

A recent ruling by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that injured workers are entitled to both Social Security Disability benefits and temporary total disability benefits for the same injury; though Social Security Disability benefits will be reduced in order to prevent double recovery. However, the workers must be able to prove either a progression or aggravation of the injury in question.

Two cases were recently combined for workers who obtained compensable injuries that hindered their ability to return to work. Both workers were awarded Social Security Disability benefits; but both workers suffered from further distress of their initial injuries and subsequently filed for reopening their cases to request temporary total disability benefits. Their requests were denied.

One worker’s case was transferred back to a lower court where benefits for temporary total disability were awarded; while the other worker’s case was investigated further to ensure that he had truly suffered from aggravation of the injury in question.

The courts decided that temporary total disability can be awarded simultaneously if the individual suffers from aggravation or progression of their injury. This is due to the federal law not currently imposing a compensation bar for those receiving Social Security disability benefits; therefore allowing both benefits to be receivable.

However, it should be noted that temporary total disability must be terminated when the individual has either received medical certification to return to work, or has improved medically to a point of being able to return to work.

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