Workers’ Compensation Could Affect Social Security Disability Claims

Social Security Disability benefits provide payments to workers who, due to any type of injury or chronic illness, are no longer able to engage in gainful employment. Social Security Disability only applies to long-term impairments (those expected to last longer than a year or to result in death) suffered by those with a significant work history.

Workers' compensation is an entirely different kind of disability program. While Social Security Disability is federally administered, it is generally up to individual states to implement workers' compensation. Unlike Social Security Disability, workers are eligible for workers' compensation starting on the very first day of employment, and workers' compensation benefits are available for both short- and long-term disabilities. In addition, workers' compensation is not a federal benefit, but is covered by an employer's insurance company. Perhaps most significantly, workers' compensation is only awarded for injuries or illnesses that are work-related.

Those with a substantial work history who suffer long-term impairment from an on-the-job injury or illness are likely eligible for both Social Security Disability and workers' compensation payments. For anyone in this situation, it is important to understand how these types of benefits interact and why the services of New York disability lawyers can be indispensable.

For Disability Benefits, Public Versus Private Distinction Key

Disability payments from private sources typically do not affect Social Security Disability benefits. Payments from private insurers or pension benefits from a private employer are examples.

However, many types of public disability benefits, including workers' compensation, do affect Social Security Disability. Along with workers' compensation, civil service disability benefits, state temporary disability benefits, and state or local government retirement benefits based on disability are commonly associated with lowered Social Security Disability payments - although some public benefits, like those from the Veterans Administration, state and local government benefits if Social Security taxes were deducted from your earnings, or Supplemental Security Income do not impact Social Security Disability payments.

The total amount of your benefits from Social Security Disability and workers' compensation or other qualifying public disability benefits cannot exceed 80 percent of your average earnings at the time you became disabled. If they do, your Social Security Disability benefits are reduced such that you are collecting only 80 percent of your former wages. However, if you reach age 65 or your other public benefits stop, your full Social Security benefits will be reinstated.

Attorney Specializing In Workers' Comp, Social Security Can Be Crucial

Collecting disability benefits from Social Security and another source is not a bad thing; in fact, a finding of disability by one agency can often help your claim with another. But, such a scenario is something that should be approached with caution. For instance, sometimes workers' compensation settlements come in the form of a lump-sum payment that could have complicated implications for your Social Security Disability payments.

If you have been injured on the job, it is important to get the help you need to collect the most benefits possible. Contact a lawyer today to explore your best options.