You can receive both. If you have been out of work for at least 5 months you are eligible to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. However, your physician must certify that you will be unable to do any work for at least 12 months. You must also have been paying into the system for at least 5 out of the last 10 years.
Social Security Disability is a Federal program which has completely different requirements. Not only must you be unable to perform the physical requirements of your most recent job, but you must be completely unable to perform any other work based upon your age, education and work experience. Most initial applications are rejected, and the appeal of these initial applications usually result in a hearing before a Federal Law Judge. Many of these hearings also require you to cross examine both a physician and a vocational expert.
The biggest difference between these programs is that you can be “partially” disabled and still receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. Social Security will consider all of your medical limitations (not just work related injuries). If you are granted Social Security Disability benefits you are also eligible to receive Medicare medical benefits (after a required waiting period).
Although you are permitted to represent yourself, we strongly encourage you to retain an experienced attorney, since the claim process, Medical development and Hearing process is quite complex.