You likely know that a workplace injury can call for workers' comp benefits, but if your injury turns out to be permanent, you may be wondering if you can collect both Social Security disability (SSD) and workers' comp at the same time. The quick answer to that question is "yes," but read below for more details.
Social Security Disability
SSD and workers' comp are very different programs and qualifying for one does not mean you'll qualify for the other. SSD requires that you have paid enough into the system by working a minimum number of years and earning enough money. SSD doesn't require that you be injured as a result of your job, just that you be unable to work for a certain period of time. Additionally, SSD medical requirements are quite strict; your medical condition must be one of those recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and you must be ready to prove your impairment by seeking and staying in medical treatment consistently. There is always a waiting period for SSD benefits to begin once you are approved.
You must show that your injury occurred on the job, or as a result of your job, to qualify for these benefits, and your injury must be deemed permanent to qualify for a lifetime of benefits. You are eligible for workers' comp benefits from your first day of work, and there is no waiting period for the benefits to begin after you are approved.
If you are deemed permanently disabled by workers' comp and you have been approved for SSD benefits, you can earn both at the same time. The main issue concerns the amount of money you are allowed to earn per month. If you receive monthly workers' comp benefits, your SSD compensation will be reduced by a certain amount, called an offset. Offsets can be a confusing concept, but generally the total payment earned from both programs should not exceed 80% of the monthly earnings from your previous job. Your SSD payment will continue to be reduced until you reach full retirement age, when your Social Security retirement plan kicks in; at that time you may have unlimited earnings from each program.
Lump Sum Payments
If you are offered a lump sum payment from workers' comp, the skills of a workers' comp attorney is needed to ensure that the settlement be structured in such a way as to allow you to also earn an SSD benefit. Additionally, some lump sum settlements include medical and legal expenses, which should be separated out so as not to count toward the total income.
When it comes time to settle your workers' comp case, be sure to use an attorney to get the most from the compensation available. Click here to investigate this topic further.