Can You Collect Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability?
June 3, 2021
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Explains Whether You Can Collect Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability in Pennsylvania
Injuries in the workplace happen. Sometimes they may just be a minor injury that heals in a few days without having to go to the doctor or take time off. A workplace injury could be something more severe or result in prolonged time away from work with high medical bills. Some individuals suffering severe or catastrophic workplace injuries could be out for several months or even years. When this happens, injured workers may have questions about what types of benefits they may be entitled to under the law.
The most common questions revolve around workers’ compensation and social security disability income. This includes whether an injured worker could apply and collect workers’ compensation and social security disability.
The answer is YES; an injured worker could receive both. However, there are some caveats to be aware of because applying to one or the other can be tricky by itself. But applying to both at the same time—while injured—can be a daunting task without the help of an experienced workers’ comp lawyer in Philadelphia. But before applying, it is important to understand both types of benefits and their functions.
What is Workers’ Compensation in PA?
Workers’ compensation, also known as workers’ comp or WC, is a type of benefit offered by insurance carriers licensed by the state’s workers’ compensation fund. This means state agencies oversee and monitor workers’ compensation to ensure compliance with the state’s laws and regulations.
WC benefits are paid to an injured worker who either sustained an injury within the employment scope or has suffered an illness or condition related to the worker’s employment. Benefits cover reimbursement of medical bills and a portion of lost wages while out on medical leave. There are other benefits possible for prolonged absences from work or if injuries resulted in the inability to return to the same job.
What are Social Security Benefits?
There are two types of social security benefits. The first is social security income, or SSI, which is sometimes referred to as “old-age benefits.” Individuals having limited or no income or resources and either over 65, blind, or disabled may be eligible.
The second type is social security disability income or SSD/SSDI. These benefits are paid to individuals who have a work history and qualifying disability. Benefits under SSDI are typically higher than SSI, but qualifying for SSDI is challenging because of the work history requirements.
Can I Recover Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability at the Same Time?
Yes, it is possible to be eligible to apply and receive workers’ compensation and SSDI at the same time. This is particularly true when an injured worker will be out of work for several months or possibly years due to a serious or catastrophic personal injury suffered at the workplace.
However, it is important to realize that an injured worker may not earn the entire workers’ compensation benefit and full SSDI benefit in certain situations. This is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses an offset calculation in cases where workers’ compensation is also being paid. This can be a very tricky analysis, especially if a worker takes a lump sum settlement. This is when victims and their families should consult with a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney to ensure they receive the benefits that they may be entitled to under the law.
Limitations on Collecting Both WC and SSDI
The law prohibits an individual from receiving more than 80% of the individual’s pre-injury or pre-disability earnings. When an individual simultaneously receives both WC and SSDI benefits that exceed that figure, the law treats the WC benefits as “primary,” and the SSA is entitled to an offset based on the WC benefits. This means that the WC benefits will be in full, but the SSDI will be reduced.
There are some exceptions or ways to spend down. One is where an individual is in retirement status already, and those benefits are not affected. There are other ways to reduce or minimize your offset to maximize your recovery. These are heavily fact-dependent and should be handled by an experienced work injury lawyer.
Can I Accept a Lump Sum WC Settlement to Minimize My Offset?
While you can accept a lump sum settlement to resolve your workers’ compensation claim, that will not minimize your SSDI offset. Instead, the SSA will calculate your monthly WC benefit by dividing the total settlement by the number of months left on your life expectancy. That number will then be your total WC benefit per month.
The SSA will then evaluate whether that WC benefit and the SSDI exceed 80% of your pre-injury/pre-disability income. If it does, the SSDI benefits will be lowered accordingly.
Navigating Both WC and SSDI Can Be Difficult: Make it Easier with Help From Our Workers’ Comp Attorneys
With over 40 years of experience representing injured workers and personal injury victims, our skilled and experienced workers’ comp lawyers in Pennsylvania at Larry Pitt and Associates know how to maximize the benefits you may be entitled to under the law. Learn how we can help you and your family by dialing (888)-PITT-LAW or (877) 748-8529 to schedule your FREE consultation. You could also send us a private and confidential message with our easy-to-use contact us box available here.
+++++ Disclaimer+++++ This blog is considered advertising and does not constitute any client-attorney privilege and does not offer any advice or opinion on any legal matter. This blog was drafted by Digital Mixology a digital marketing, Public Relations, advertising, and content marketing firm located in Philadelphia, PA.