Sep 26, 2018

How Workers’ Compensation Affects Disability Benefits

With Social Security Disability, someone has to be injured so badly that
they cannot work for at least 12 months, or their medical condition will
result in death. Unlike Social Security retirement benefits, applicants
don’t have to wait until they reach retirement age to access disability
benefits. Instead, they must earn enough work credits and meet the Social
Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of a disability to get approved.

It is not uncommon for someone to be injured on the job and in effect,
qualify for
workers’ compensation benefits
and Social Security Disability benefits. So, can an injured worker collect
both types of benefits? Or, does collecting workers’ compensation
reduce one’s disability benefits?

How Workers’ Comp Affects SSDI Benefits

If an injured worker obtains
workers’ compensation benefits through a state or federal (for federal workers) workers’ compensation
agency, it does not bar the worker from applying for Social Security Disability
benefits; however, their workers’ compensation benefits may reduce
their SSDI benefits.

“How does it work?” Suppose you receive workers’ compensation
AND SSDI benefits. In this situation, the total amount of benefits you
receive cannot exceed 80% of your average current earnings before the injury.

If the total amount of benefits you are receiving exceeds 80% of your income
before the accident, the excess is deducted by the SSA from your SSDI
benefit – it won’t be deducted from your workers’ compensation benefit.

Do All Public Benefits Impact SSDI?

Not all public benefits impact SSDI benefits. For example, if you receive
disability benefits
andone of the following public benefits, your disability benefit will not
be affected. It will not be reduced at all:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI),
  • Veterans Administration benefits, or
  • State or local government benefits, providing you paid Social Security
    taxes on them.

If you are filing a workers’ compensation claim and you believe you
qualify for SSDI benefits as well, we recommend also filing a claim for
disability. Nothing should stop you from receiving all of the benefits
you are entitled to under the law.