Workers compensation and SSDI benefits
Workers compensation is awarded to workers who are injured on the job and who are no longer able to perform their job requirements. Workers compensation includes payments for partial injuries and injuries which are considered short-term.
But what if you are injured at work and your work injury is so severe you are 100% disabled and unable to work and you cannot return to work or you will be unable to work for 12 continuous months? If this is the case you may be looking for some type of wage replacement program which is long-term such as SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance).
Can I get SSDI and Workers Compensation?
If you have been injured on the job and you are receiving workers compensation benefits, according to the SSA, this payment is not considered “earned income” because it is not generated through “work.” This means that although earned income cannot exceed a specific amount if you are receiving SSDI, the unearned income for workers’ compensation will not make you ineligible for SSDI benefits.
Will Workers Compensation affect my SSDI payments?
The SSA has stated on their website that if you are getting Social Security Disability Insurance that your SSDI benefit should not be affected by disability payments from private sources (private pension or insurance benefits).
Workers compensation is payment for a work injury but it is not considered “private” insurance. Workers compensation is paid from the employer of the worker, but it is insurance provided from either the state or federal workers’ compensation agency. Because it is a “public” insurance benefit it can impact your Social Security Disability Insurance payments.
The SSA states that there are certain types of “public” benefits which will not lower your SSDI payments including V.A. disability benefits, SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or other benefits offered by the states or Federal Government if the claimant has already paid their Social Security taxes from their earnings. Workers’ Compensation, however, differs from these programs.
Calculating my payments from Workers’ Compensation and SSDI
According to the SSA, workers who are receiving both workers’ compensation and SSDI benefits cannot receive a total compensation payment for their disabilities which exceeds more than 80 percent of their average current earnings prior to their disability. The example below is provided on the SSA website at www.ssa.gov.
Before you became disabled, your average current earnings were $4,000 a month. You, your spouse and your two children would be eligible to receive a total of $2,200 a month in Social Security disability benefits. However, you also receive $2,000 a month from workers’ compensation. Because the total amount of benefits you would receive ($4,200) is more than 80 percent of your average current earnings ($3,200), your family’s Social Security benefits will be reduced by $1,000.
Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer or Workers’ Compensation lawyer
No one wants to consult with a work comp lawyer or SSDI lawyer about their disability payments but failure to understand the potential offsets to your workers compensation payments could cost you thousands of dollars. If you do not want to talk to a work comp lawyer make sure you review the laws of your state and you understand how SSDI may lower our work compensation benefits, prior to applying for SSDI.
- SSDI – Do I have to go 12 months without income to get benefits? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)