Will Social Security Disability benefits affect my Workers’ Compensation payments?
No, in fact it is the other way around. In general, you can receive both Social Security Disability benefits and Workers’ Compensation benefits at the same time. But it is important to know how the two programs work together.
Workers’ compensation programs vary from state to state, with each state having its own laws and regulations governing what workers’ compensation benefits are to be paid to an employee who has been injured in an accident arising out of employment. As a general rule, you do not have to be totally unable to work for one year or longer to qualify for workers compensation. Your impairment must have arisen out of your employment and must result in at least a temporary inability to do the job you were doing when you were injured.
Most workers compensation eligible claimants will have been receiving workers compensation benefits by the time they apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Workers tend to apply for Social Security Disability benefits only after their injury has become a long-term or permanent impairment resulting in the inability to engage in any full time work.
By law, if you are eligible for both workers compensation payments and Social Security Disability benefits, your Social Security Disability monthly benefits may be subject to reduction. The Social Security Administration can lower your Social Security Disability benefits payments by applying what is called an “offset.” The Social Security Act mandates that Social Security Disability benefits otherwise payable to you on your earnings record be reduced so that the total monthly amount of both paymentsyou receive is no more than 80% of the average monthly wages you earned prior to your disability.
Again, your workers compensation payments are not affected. It is the Social Security Disability benefits that are subject to being reduced by this offset.
Settling your workers compensation claim can also affect the amount of your Social Security Disability benefits payment, and any settlement agreement should be carefully drafted to minimize the impact of the settlement on your Social Security Disability benefits payments. Your workers compensation attorney should be advised of any Social Security Disability benefits payment you receive so that both benefits may be protected to the maximum extent possible.