A workers’ compensation settlement does affect Social Security Disability (SSD) in some cases. This is because you cannot exceed the threshold for receiving public disability benefits, and workers’ compensation benefits fall into this category. Eligibility for SSD programs also includes income limits.
While it is possible to qualify for both, the total benefits you receive cannot cause you to exceed the designated income threshold. If it does, this will reduce your SSD benefits, or you may be unable to receive these funds at all. If you suffered injuries at work and are seeking financial support from workers’ compensation and SSD programs, our firm can help you navigate the application processes.
How Much Can I Receive from Workers’ Compensation?
State workers’ compensation programs cover two main categories of financial damages after a work-related injury: medical expenses and lost income. Payment for your medical treatment will go to the approved doctors you see, while wage replacement benefits are paid directly to you. However, you only receive a certain percentage of your weekly wages.
The exact percentage varies depending on the state maximums and the severity of your injury. For example, the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) outlines that federal employees generally receive 66 2/3% of their weekly wages. Many states follow this same pay schedule, but each sets its maximum benefit amount every year.
What Are the Income Requirements to Qualify for SSD Benefits?
Social Security Disability encompasses two benefit programs:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
While the eligibility requirements for these programs differ, both follow an income threshold. For example, the Social Security Administration (SSA) states that you must make less than $814 in unearned income to qualify for SSI in 2021, which includes workers’ compensation benefits.
In addition, the SSA is clear that your total public disability payments cannot exceed 80% of your average current earnings to qualify for SSDI. As such, if you are receiving workers’ compensation and other public disability benefits and meet or exceed this threshold, you do not qualify for this program.
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Do Lump-Sum Payments Require a Reduction in Social Security Benefits?
Workers’ compensation benefits for missed income are generally issued weekly. However, you could have the option to accept a lump-sum settlement instead.
When weighing these options, it’s crucial to note that receiving a settlement does not change the benefit threshold outlined above. The courts have made several rulings on workers’ compensation settlements and how they affect SSD beneficiaries. For example, in Mann v. Heckler, the court confirmed that lump-sum payments also require a reduction in SSDI payments.
Can a Lawyer Help Me with Workers’ Compensation and SSD?
SSDI and SSI have many specific qualifications you need to meet to receive benefits. One mistake in your application – especially in regards to your income and other public disability benefits – could disqualify you from the compensation you need to support your family. When you retain a lawyer from our firm to help, we will:
- Examine your medical and income documents
- Ensure your applications contain complete and accurate information
- File the necessary paperwork
- Explain the SSA’s decision in your case
If Another Party Caused Your Injury
Workers’ compensation and SSD are not the only options that may be available to you after suffering an injury at work. If a third party – someone other than your employer or coworker – caused you harm, you could file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against them. Our attorneys handle personal injury cases regularly, and our services include:
- Accident investigation
- Witness interviews and evidence collection
- Identification of liable parties
- Damage calculation
- Representation in settlement negotiations and in court
Filing a personal injury lawsuit could allow you to recover damages beyond lost income and medical expenses. For example, you could receive compensation for the pain and suffering your injuries caused. Our team would be honored to help you hold the liable party accountable.
Learn More About Workers’ Comp Settlements and SSD by Contacting Our Office Today
The aftermath of a work injury can be a time of serious financial stress, on top of any pain you experience during the recovery process. Navigating even one public disability program is challenging on your own—allow our attorneys at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, to guide you. We represent clients applying for all of these benefits, as well as those looking to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for their injuries.
Our firm has several locations throughout North Carolina, as well as an office in South Carolina. If you are seeking legal support after suffering a work-related injury, we want to hear from you. Speak with one of our team members about your circumstances today at (828) 286-3866.