If you have been injured while doing your job, you will likely be eligible to collect some benefits from workers' compensation insurance provided by your employer. If your disability is severe enough and you have become permanently disabled, you may also be qualified to collect Social Security Disability. You may be wondering if you can receive both workers' comp and Social Security Disability at the same time, and the quick answer is "yes," but read on to find out more details.
Social Security Disability
This benefit is paid only to workers who have "paid into" the insurance system with payroll deductions. You will normally see a deduction on your pay stub indicating Social Security payments. To receive benefits, you must have worked a specified amount of time and made a specified amount of money, depending on your age. You must be able to prove that your medical condition is quite severe and that little to no improvement is to be expected. Unlike workers' compensation, however, your injury does not have be job-related.
This benefit is available to workers with on-the-job injuries from the very first day of work. Unlike Social Security Disability, which is a federal government-run program, every state has their own workers' compensation rules.
Getting Compensation From Both Programs
There are no laws to prevent you from collecting money from both of these programs, if you qualify for each program. The biggest issue, however, is the amount of money you receive. Your Social Security Disability monthly benefit amount will be reduced by the amount of your workers' compensation payment, which is called an "offset."
- The offset issue can be extremely confusing, but in general, your total payments from both Social Security Disability and workers' comp cannot exceed 80% of your previous job's salary. This offset stays in place until you reach full retirement age, when you will become eligible for regular retirement benefits from Social Security.
- Lump sum payments, which are often offered by workers' comp for permanent disabilities, can result in a more complicated offset scenario. You will require a workers' comp attorney to help structure your settlement to be paid in monthly payments and to help ensure that your medical expenses are separate from the workers' compensation award.
The need for a workers' compensation attorney or a Social Security attorney for those needing to collect both types of payments cannot be overstated. Offset rules are complicated, and once you have agreed to a settlement offer, it will too late to make any changes needed to allow you to collect both workers' comp and Social Security Disability at the same time.
For more information, contact an attorney, such as Vandeventer Black LLP.