Social Security disability benefits are awarded to people who are unable to work because of a disability. On the other hand, workers’ compensation benefits are awarded to people who have suffered a work-related injury. Although these two programs are different, it is possible to qualify for both. For example, if a worker sustains a work-related injury that is permanently disabling, he could qualify for both Social Security disability benefits and workers’ compensation benefits. But, is it possible to receive both at the same time?
How Workers’ Compensation Benefits Affect Social Security Disability Benefits
It is possible to receive more than one type of benefit at the same time. Receiving disability payments from private sources such as private pensions will not affect your Social Security disability benefits. However, workers’ compensation benefits could affect your Social Security disability benefits.
If you receive both workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits, the total of these two benefits combined cannot exceed 80% of what you earned prior to becoming disabled.
For example, let’s say you earned $3000 a month before becoming disabled. This means you cannot earn more than $2400 from workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits combined.
When Are Social Security Disability Benefits Reduced?
If the total amount of your workers’ compensation and disability benefits is more than 80% of your average earnings, your Social Security disability benefits will be reduced. Consider the example above once more. If you earned $3000 a month prior to becoming disabled, you should not receive more than $2400 a month in benefits. But, let’s say you are awarded $1300 a month in workers’ compensation benefits and $1300 a month in Social Security disability benefits, which is a total of $2600 in benefits a month. This breaks the 80% rule, which means your Social Security disability benefits will need to be reduced by $200 to keep you at the $2400 monthly limitation.
It’s important to note that it is always your Social Security disability benefits that are reduced to keep you at or under the 80% limit. Your workers’ compensation benefits will not be adjusted to ensure you comply with this rule.
If you are suffering from a disability or work-related injury, let us help. The experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. can guide you through the process of filing for both workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.