You can expect to encounter some serious financial issues if you are seriously injured and cannot work at your job. Most people are covered by workers' comp for on-the-job injuries, but you may also qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. Can you collect both at the same time? Read on to understand how you can and how at least one of these programs limits your total compensation.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Not everyone can draw benefits from SSDI; you must have worked a certain number of years and contributed enough to your account. If you are unable to work at your job and can prove it using medical records, you may be able to "draw" monthly benefits from your account. Getting approved for SSDI can be extremely challenging and is a lengthy process, but if qualified you can replace some of your salary from your former job. There is a five month waiting period from your final day at work until your benefits begin to be counted. It could take months or even years to be approved for benefits, but when approved you may be able to get back pay in accrued benefits in a lump sum payment.
You can be covered under your employer's workers' comp plan from your first moment at your job. Unlike SSDI, your injury must have occurred either at work or as a result of your work. Since workers' comp is administered individually by each state, rules will vary somewhat.
In answer to the question, you can collect both SSDI and workers' comp at the same time, but the amount per month may be limited. Your SSDI payment will be reduced by your workers' comp payment, which is called an "offset". The offset ensures that your total benefit payment from both programs together never exceeds 80% of your previous salary. Once you reach retirement age and begin collecting regular Social Security, the offset is discontinued. Depending on how your workers' comp settlement is set up, you could collect a higher monthly payment once the offset is removed.
Workers' Comp Lump Sum Payment
Workers' comp isn't always paid in monthly payments; sometimes you receive a lump sum amount, which can be structured to be disbursed monthly. SSDI limits your income prior to retirement, so be sure to work closely with an attorney to ensure that your lump sum payments are property structured to ensure that you get the maximum benefit amount.
Consult with a Social Security or workers' comp attorney for more information about collecting from these two programs at the same time. To learn more, contact a law firm like Locklin & Mordhorst.Share