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Can I collect Workers Comp AND Social Security Disability?

I was injured on the job about 18 months ago and have been receiving Worker’s Compensation. Unfortunately, I have now decided that I am just unable to work anymore and want to file for Social Security Disability. I was told by a fellow worker that if I received Worker’s Compensation that I could not draw Social Security Disability also without causing a reduction in my benefits. Can anything be done about it? Tommy J., Townley

Nothing causes more confusion than the interaction between Social Security Disability benefits and Worker’s Compensation and the so-called offset this may create. Generally, you can receive no more in combined Social Security disability and Worker’s Compensation than eighty percent (80%) of your highest wages earned in the last 5 years prior to your disabling injury.

An experienced attorney in this field, acting on your behalf, can legally draft a worker’s compensation settlement to avoid such an offset due to the receipt of the combined benefits. Computing your worker’s compensation over your lifetime, even if it is accepted all at one time, usually avoids such a reduction in benefits.

I was found to be disabled by the Social Security Administration four years ago.  I started going to a new doctor six months ago and have been doing much better. I would like to try to go back to work, but I am afraid of losing my disability benefits. What should I do? Jessica B., Jasper

The Social Security Administration allows a trial work period for you to test your ability to work for at least 9 months, even if you have already been found to be disabled. During your trial work period, you will receive your full disability benefit regardless of how much you earn as long as your work activity has been reported and you continue to have a disabling impairment. The 9 months does not need to be consecutive, and your trial work period will last until you accumulate 9 months within a rolling 60-month period. There are requirements in place that you must meet to attempt a trial work period, including the need to notify the Social Security Administration in advance of such a work attempt, but it is a great way to see if you are able to function in the regular workforce again without risking you benefits.

I may apply for my disability from Social Security since I am no longer able to work. I have heard other people talk about Social Security Disability and SSI. What’s the difference between these two things? Margie S., Thach

Margie, Social Security Disability, often called SSD, is a disability benefit based upon the earnings you have made and paid taxes on during your working career. The amount of disability payment you might receive is based upon what you have earned. Except for some younger workers, usually you need to pay in to the system for at least 10 years to be eligible for such benefits. The amount you would receive for SSD is based upon what you have paid in to the Social Security system.

On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income, often called SSI, is a disability benefit based upon what resources (money and property) you have. It is often called a welfare disability payment. If you have resources in your household or own property that exceeds certain amounts, you would not be eligible for SSI.

The medical benefit that is associated with SSD is Medicare, while the medical benefit associated with SSI is Medicaid. In some rare instances you could be eligible for SSD and SSI.

Nelson, Bryan and Jones represent clients in the following areas: Social Security Disability, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Wrongful Death Cases, Personal Injury Actions, Defective Products, Insurance Disputes and Bad Faith, Fire Loss cases, Trucking Accidents, Worker’s Compensation, Drug Recalls, Employment Law and Property Damage Claims.

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