Will Social Security Benefits Affect My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

workers compensation & social security disability

It is not unheard of for an injured worker to receive both social security disability insurance benefits and workers’ compensation at the same time. They are the two biggest work-based disability programs in the U.S. While both payouts for a disability, social security disability insurance benefits are paid to those who cannot be employed due to the injury.

Workers’ compensation benefits can be a temporary, long-term, partial or total disability. However, this is a tough task to handle on your own. You should have a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer by your side to help you through this difficult and time-consuming process.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Will Change

If you receive workers’ compensation benefits and SSDI, the total amount of both cannot exceed over 80 percent of your previous earnings before being injured. Also, it is important to note that some states have reverse offset law, which allows for the reduction of workers’ compensation benefits if you are also receiving Social Security Disability.

An “Offset” to Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If the total amount exceeds 80 percent, the “excess” is deducted from your SSDI benefits. This is called a “workers’ compensation offset.” When Offsets are calculated, Social Security first must identify the “applicable limit,” or the maximum monthly amount one can receive under the federal law.

When a person receives more benefits than the applicable limit for each month, then Social Security will offset the SSDI to fit the quota for the monthly limit. Workers’ compensation will offset SSDI more often to the people that earned lower incomes when they were still working. This is because their applicable limits are lower and easier to go over when the worker starts to receive both SSDI and workers’ compensation benefits.

For example, an attorney might write in a language that specifies $24,000 is meant to be a $50 per month payment for every month until he reaches the age of 65 ($24,000/480 months). Social security would be the one to calculate any SSDI offset based on the $50 per month for 480 months payment. Because the claimant would have a lower monthly income from workers’ comp, he would lose less SSDI or might stay clear of the offset entirely.

How to Minimize the Offset

Many disability lawyers will draft settlements to reduce the SSDI “offset.” The language in these documents will be determined by social security on how much will be “offset.” Also, some will exclude medical and legal expenses from the workers’ compensation lump sum. The language and the issues to be settled come from state law, not federal law. Thus, they will vary from state to state as workers’ compensation programs do.

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Get the Benefits You Deserve

If you in a position in which you are receiving both Social Security Benefits and Workers’ Compensation benefits at the same time, you should not hesitate to get to help, here at Goldberg & Wolf Law Offices we are more than happy to assist you. We will make sure that you understand how Social Security Disability Insurance affects your workers’ compensation and how we can mitigate the potential damage. We will help make sure that you get the most from your benefits. Contact us today or call (856) 651-1600 to schedule a free consultation today and talk to one of our experienced and highly skilled attorneys.