Coordinate Social Security Benefits and Worker’s Comp

Coordinate WC & SSD

How Social Security Disability Benefits and Workers’ Compensation Coordinate

If you suffered a work injury or occupational disease at work, you are probably eligible for workers’ compensation benefits based on state law.  Although each case is different, you may also qualify for federal Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI).  Workers’ compensation programs vary from state to state, but typically recognize both temporary and permanent injury and disease.  In order to obtain SSDI benefits, you have to medically prove that your disability is expected to last at least 1 year or results in death that prevents you from working, whether work-related or not.  Many people who receive both workers’ compensation and SSDI have long-term, serious work-related disabilities.

To prevent people from double-dipping, receiving both workers’ compensation benefits and SSDI benefits, the Social Security Administration created an Act {42 USCA 424a} requiring that, in some situations, SSDI monthly benefits be reduced in part or in full by the amount of workers’ compensation received and sometimes also by the amount of other kinds of public disability benefits.  The calculations are complex, but here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Offsets do not apply after you reach either age 62 or age 65, depending on your individual situation.
  • The offset takes effect only when the sum of your SSDI benefits plus your workers’ compensation benefits exceeds 80% of your average current earnings.
  • Before calculating the offset, the Social Security Administration (SSA) must exclude from your workers’ compensation award amounts for legal fees, rehabilitation, past and future medical costs, dependents’ payments, and payments for specific loss.
  • The offsets affect both monthly workers’ compensation payments and lump-sum workers’ compensation settlements, which are prorated to arrive at monthly benefit approximations for offset purposes.
  • If you successfully sue a third-party for your work-related injury, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier has the right to be reimbursed from the award for the workers’ compensation benefits paid to you.   If SSDI benefits were previously reduced because of the workers’ compensation benefits that were later reassigned to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, those SSDI benefits should be restored.

The above article sets forth a simplified summary of the SSDI-workers’ compensation set-off, and is a law that changes frequently, is complex and detailed.  A lawyer knowledgeable in both workers’ compensation and in social security law can advise you as to important facets of the law that may be critical to your particular case.  It may be to your financial benefit to seek the advise of an experienced lawyer, especially if you are intending to settle your workers’ compensation claim for a lump-sum amount.

At Robinson Law, we can listen to your individual story and advise how best to proceed to receive the most benefits for you and your family.