How Workers’ Comp Benefits Affect Social Security Benefits
Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance
Both workers’ compensation and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) system are intended to help people who need sources of income at a difficult time. Sometimes people need the support of both programs, if, for example, they were injured on the job so severely that they can no longer work.
In that situation, it’s understandable to want the maximum benefits from both programs in order to cover medical costs and lost wages. However, there’s a limit to how much total money you can receive from these programs together.
No more than 80% of average current earnings before disability
According to the law, the total amount of combined benefits from public sources cannot exceed 80% of the average current earnings before becoming disabled. “Public” refers to state or federally run workers’ compensation programs and other government disability programs.
Note that payments you receive from private pensions or insurance do not affect your Social Security disability benefits. Neither do payments from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Administration benefits.
For example, John had been making an average of $4,000 per month before becoming disabled from an injury on the job. He’d be eligible to receive $2,200 a month in Social Security disability benefits, and $2,000 a month in workers’ compensation, totaling $4,200. But because he’d only be entitled to 80% of $4,000, he could only receive a maximum of $3,200 from both sources combined. Therefore, the Social Security disability benefit would be reduced by $1,000 in order not to exceed that $3,200 per month threshold.
Read more about earnings are calculated from Social Security Administration in this PDF.
Maximizing Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Yes, often there are ways of structuring payments and working with the system to increase the amount of total benefits. The best way to do this is to work with an attorney experienced in both workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance law.
One way is to ensure that your original workers’ compensation settlement has an amortization provision, which effectively pays out over time and can reduce the monthly income from workers’ compensation, meaning there’s opportunity to receive more SSDI benefits.
Another way is for employees approaching 62 to consider early retirement, which would end Social Security disability benefits and instead initiate Social Security retirement benefits.
This is a very brief overview of two possible options. To find out what’s appropriate for your unique situation, talk to an attorney.
Work with an Experienced Greenville Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you’re seeking disability and workers’ compensation benefits, get the help of an experienced Social Security Disability Insurance and work injury lawyer. Attorneys Johnnie Fulton and Andrew Barr of the law firm Fulton & Barr in Greenville, SC, can help you with your claims and improve your chances of getting maximum benefits you deserve under the law.
Once you’ve been injured, the clock starts ticking and you have only a certain amount of time to file. Don’t let the opportunity pass without taking action. Call (864) 235-3154 to schedule a free initial consultation with Fulton and Barr to discuss your situation.