Disabled at Work? Find Out How Social Security, Workers’ Comp Interact

When you suffer an on-the-job injury, there are many types of benefits that may be available to help you through your time of need. Two of the most common public resources for disabled workers are workers' compensation and Social Security Disability.

But, many accident victims are unaware of how these programs intersect. If you have been seriously injured at work, you can benefit from a basic understanding of how workers' compensation affects Social Security Disability payments and how Detroit disability lawyers could help you get the most out of your benefits.

Social Security Disability Payments May Be Reduced By Workers' Comp Benefits

Workers' compensation provides payments to workers injured on the job or suffering from an employment-related illness; benefits cover the cost of medical care as well as cash to partially replace lost wages. If the work-related condition has long term health consequences, workers' compensation may provide permanent disability payments.

Social Security Disability benefits, on the other hand, are paid to workers with long term impairments that prevent them from engaging in any gainful employment, whether injuries or illnesses arose on-the-job or not. While a worker is eligible for workers' compensation on the first day of employment, only those with a substantial work history can receive Social Security Disability benefits.

So what if a worker is eligible for both workers' compensation and Social Security Disability? Generally, while disability payments from private sources do not affect Social Security Disability benefits, many public benefits, including workers' compensation, do.

If you receive both workers' compensation and Social Security Disability, the total amount of your payments from these sources cannot exceed 80 percent of your average earnings before you became disabled. Any amount in excess of 80 percent of your former average earnings is deducted, dollar for dollar, from your Social Security Disability benefits. The reduction in benefits will continue until you reach age 65 or until your workers' compensation benefits stop.

Why an Experienced Disability Attorney Is Important

Of course, in order for a reduction in Social Security Disability benefits to even be a concern, you must submit a successful claim to both the Social Security administration and your state's workers' compensation agency. Your claims are more likely to be approved, and to be for a higher amount, if you pursue them with the help of a disability attorney.

Additionally, sometime disabled workers receive a lump-sum workers' compensation payment that affects Social Security benefits differently than periodic workers' compensation payments - an attorney can help structure such lump-sum payments such that you get the greatest amount possible. If you are facing a job-related disability, contact an attorney today to learn more about the benefits you are entitled to.