If you were seriously injured on the job, you may qualify for more than one type of state or federal benefit program. Additionally, you may receive funds from private pension or disability insurance plans.
For example, you may qualify for both workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if your injury is severe enough. You also may receive a payout from a work-sponsored or individually-purchased disability insurance policy.
However, you might be wondering if and how these benefit programs affect one another.
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), workers’ compensation benefits and public disability benefits may end up reducing the amount of SSDI you qualify for.
The SSA has a rule that the amount of benefits you receive through workers’ compensation and other public benefits programs plus your SSDI benefits cannot add up to more than 80 percent of your average current earnings before your disability occurred.
Any money you receive in excess of the 80 percent limit is automatically deducted from your SSDI payments, and you can expect to have the deduction take place until the other benefits stop or you reach the age of 65.
Workers’ compensation benefits are generally awarded to workers who sustain illnesses or injuries on the job. They are funded by federal or state workers’ compensation programs, employers or insurance companies on behalf of employers.
There are also many other state and federal benefit programs for the disabled that are not based on work, such as civil service disability benefits, temporary disability benefits or retirement benefits based on disability. These also count toward the “80 percent limit.”
On the other hand, there are various types of public benefits that do not count toward the 80 percent limit such as veterans’ benefits, Supplemental Security Income and all state and local benefits that you paid Social Security tax on.
Ultimately, there are many benefits programs that can kick in when a disabling injury or condition takes place at work, but the rules governing them can be very complex and confusing. That’s why many people seek out an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer for guidance.
Source: SSA.gov, “How Workers’ Compensation And Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits,” 05-10018, ICN 454500, January 2011, last accessed April 21, 2014