Can I Collect Workers’ Comp and SS Disability?

September 20, 2019

workers comp lawyer Philadelphia

Our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers are frequently asked, “Can I collect workers’ comp and social security disability?” The general answer is yes, however, there are certain restrictions that apply. Knowing how social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits affect workers’ compensation can help employees make better-informed decisions regarding their cases.

Workers’ Compensation Offset Rule

Although workers may receive both workers’ compensation and SSDI benefits simultaneously, they may only receive up to a certain amount. Laws on this vary by state, therefore employees seeking to collect both types of benefits are advised to contact a qualified attorney in their local area.

SSDI is a federal program, whereas workers’ compensation is governed by state law. Therefore, there are different rules and requirements for each; a worker may qualify for one and not the other.

Employees who qualify for both SSDI and workers’ comp may receive both types of benefits, however the total amount they receive must be no more than 80 percent of their average earnings prior to the accident. If the total is greater than that, SSDI benefits will be reduced until the benefits amount to 80 percent or less of the employee’s prior income.

How the Offset is Calculated

The workers’ compensation offset is calculated by first determining the applicable limit, which is the maximum amount of benefits a worker is eligible to receive. The applicable limit will be the higher of either a worker’s:

  • average current earnings – equal to 80 percent of the worker’s pre-injury income; or
  • total family benefit – equal to the total amount of SSDI received by all members of the recipient’s family in the first month of workers’ compensation benefit disbursement.

Then, the worker’s average current earnings must be calculated using the highest of one of three formulas:

  • Average monthly wage – the average monthly wage that the Social Security Administration (SSA) used to determine the worker’s un-indexed primary insurance amount;
  • High five – the average monthly earning from the highest earning five years in a row; or
  • High one – the average monthly earnings from a single calendar year (either the year that disability payments began or any of the five preceding years).

The worker will receive SSDI benefits in addition to workers’ compensation benefits until the total reaches the applicable limit – either no more than either 80 percent of the average current earnings or 100 percent of the total family benefit (whichever is higher).

Wage-Loss Benefits May be Further Reduced by Offset Credit

The workers’ compensation rate may be further reduced by an offset credit, which may be taken by the employer or their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. The credit may only be claimed if the worker is receiving worker’s compensation wage-loss benefits in addition to any of the following:

  • Pension
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Severance pay
  • Retirement insurance benefit (RIB)

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Obtain the Maximum Amount of Benefits in Their Case

Contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. to discuss your case. Our experienced attorneys can explain how SSDI or other benefits affect your workers’ comp payments and help to ensure you are receiving the maximum benefits to which you are entitled. We represent clients in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania from our offices located conveniently throughout the state. Contact us online or call 888-PITT-LAW today to schedule a free consultation.

We proudly represent injured workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum Lynne, DarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssington, FolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion StationMorton, Narberth, Norristown, NorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect Park, QuakertownReadingRoxboroughSharon HillUpper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.