How Does Social Security Differ from Workers’ Compensation? Can I Apply for Both?

Post by: Eric Jones | Posted Date: March 20th, 2015 | Categories: Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Insurance is different from Workers’ Compensation – due to this, you can apply for both.  Unfortunately, there is a limit on the total combined amount you can receive, which is 80% of what is considered your “pre-injury” income.  So if you were making ten dollars an hour, you could only receive up to 8 dollars an hour of combined Social Security Disability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation.  Also, once you are of retirement age and begin to draw from Social Security retirement benefits, you will no longer receive Social Security Disability Insurance or Workers’ Compensation. 

Legal and medical expenses may be paid by Social Security if the language in your settlement is clearly written, which is one reason you should consider hiring a Workers’ Compensation attorney.  There are multiple ways in which Social Security will attempt to equate a lump sum.  For example, Social Security will try to equate your compensation to a “monthly” benefit for the purpose of calculation of the offset, which is particularly dependent on the language of the lump sum settlement. The “offset” is the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation.  You want the SSDI part to be as low as possible so that Workers’ Compensation pays the majority.

For example, say Ms. Smith, a 30 year old who made $36,000 last year, is injured on the job to the point that she can no longer work.  Depending on whether she hires an attorney, she could make the mistake of making a lump sum settlement which calculates $72,000 for 2 years (24 months * $3000/month) which would, according to Social Security, count as $3000/month for intentions of rendering the Social Security Disability Insurance offset.  However, if she, either on her own or with the assistance of an attorney, structures the language of the settlement as $72,000 equaling a monthly payment until she retires (current age of retirement is 65, subtract 30 for Ms. Smith’s age, which comes to 35 years, or 35 * 12 = 420 months) so $72,000/420 = $172/month.  This method would reduce the offset because of a lower overall workers’ compensation payout per month.

The rules vary from state to state, so make sure that you consult a disability attorney in Ohio, such as the Jones Law Group.  We have experienced Workers’ Compensation/Social Security Disability Insurance attorneys and will assist you in making the right decision for you, on a case by case basis.  Call at (614) 545-9998.  And, as previously mentioned, it is possible to word the settlement in a manner in which your legal fees are paid by Social Security!  In addition, the Jones Law Group offers free consultations, so you have nothing to lose by exploring our options. 

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