Nursing is a noble profession that requires education, empathy and commitment to your patients. However, there are workplace hazards in the medical industry that could destroy a nurse’s career.

For example, nurses in Georgia often must lift patients, which could lead to back injuries. It might take only one severe back injury or many back injuries over the course of time that puts a nurse in a situation where she cannot work. While some injuries are recoverable, some back injuries — especially those that damage the spine — can be so debilitating that the nurse can no longer work. When this happens, she may wonder how she will take care of herself, and her children if she has any.

What benefits can nurses pursue following a disabling injury?

When a nurse suffers a disabling back injury on-the-job, she may wonder if she should pursue workers’ compensation benefits, Social Security disability benefits or both. While it is possible to claim both workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security disability benefits, it is important to know that doing so will reduce the amount you may receive in Social Security disability benefits.

If a person receives workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security disability benefits, the total amount of the benefits received cannot be greater than 80% of the worker’s average current earnings prior to the date the worker became disabled. If the total amount of workers’ compensation benefits received goes over 80% of the worker’s average current earnings, the extra amount is subtracted from their Social Security disability benefits.

Claiming both SSD benefits and workers’ compensation: an example

For example, say you earned on average $4,000 when you became disabled and the Social Security Administration has determined that you are eligible for $2,200 monthly in Social Security disability benefits. Say you also are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the amount of $2,000 monthly giving you a total of $4,200 in combined monthly benefits. This amount is greater than 80 percent ($3,200) of the average amount earned when you became disabled. Thus $1,000 ($4,200 – $3,200) is the amount that will be deducted from your monthly Social Security disability benefits.

This example, while informative, is no guarantee of any monthly benefits a person might receive. Ultimately, nurses who have suffered disabling on-the-job injuries that are interested in receiving Social Security disability benefits while also receiving workers’ compensation benefits will want to work with attorneys who provide personalized attention from start to finish, with decades of experience and a proven track record of winning SSD cases.

Nursing is physically demanding job, and it is not unusual for nurses to suffer severe injuries over the course of time. Fortunately, nurses may be able to apply for the benefits they need to support themselves and their families if they suffer a disabling injury in the course of their work duties.