Double Dipping Allowed: Workers Comp And Social Security Disability

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For those who've suffered from a workplace injury that turned out to be permanent, you may find yourself eligible for two forms of compensation. You can draw both types of benefits at the same time; however, there are some limitations that you need to be aware of. Read on to learn a bit more about each type of benefit and how your monthly benefit amount could be adjusted when drawing both.

Workers' Compensation

From your first moment on the job, you are covered for your work-related injuries. This program is administered by each state individually, and the rules and benefit amounts depend on location, your wages, your age, your injury, and more. For permanent injuries, workers' comp offers everything from vocational rehabilitation and monthly payments to lump-sum payments.

Social Security Disability

You must have a sufficient work history to qualify for this federal government-run program, and your eligibility is based on the dollar amount of your earnings. You must be able to prove that your condition is bad enough to keep you from working, but the injury does not necessarily need to be work related.

Taking Advantage of Both Programs at Once

If you qualify for both programs, you can draw money from both; there is, however, a dollar limit on your monthly amount called an "offset". You are allowed to collect your entire monthly amount from your workers' comp insurance, but your Social Security Disability places an offset on your earnings which brings your monthly amount down to no more than 80% of your wages earned from your most recent job. The actual calculation is more involved, so a consultation with a Social Security caseworker is highly recommended to learn more.

What to Know

While the offset can reduce your overall monthly earnings, you should know that you can take steps to alter the offset by structuring your workers' compensation award properly. Since workers' comp can be paid either monthly or in a lump sum, you may be able to increase your overall compensation by taking the lump sum, if available. You are limited in how much income you can earn and still get Social Security Disability payments, but there is no restriction on your assets, such as money in a bank account. Additionally, you will want to ensure that the medical payment portion of the workers' comp benefit amount is kept entirely separate from the "pain and suffering" payment, since only the latter is counted as income.

This is a very complicated scenario, and the need for a workers' comp attorney is high. For help figuring out the best option for you, talk to a lawyer at a law firm such as Locklin & Mordhorst.