How Does Workers’ Compensation Influence Social Security?

Jan 15, 2016

Receiving workers’ compensation benefits will decrease any Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments you are approved to receive. This goes for both monthly workers’ comp payments and lump sum settlements. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a complex formula to ensure that the combined dollar amount of workers’ comp and SSDI never exceeds 80 percent of your average current earnings before you became disabled. They do this, federal officials claim, “to ensure that the combined benefits from workers’ compensation and Social Security are not excessive.”

That is the short answer to the title question. The long answers starts with the assurance that you can qualify for state and federal disability payments when an on-the-job injury or work-related illness leaves permanently unable to earn a living. An Ohio workers’ compensation attorney and Columbus Social Security lawyer with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman can assist you with applying for both, especially if you suspect you will need to rely on temporary workers’ comp payments while your SSDI application gets reviewed. Workers’ compensation approvals are rarely automatic, but the process can move quicker.

Assessment of what the SSA calls an offset to SSDI payments is done automatically, but the calculation uses income numbers supplied by beneficiaries and their legal representatives. This does not mean that anyone can game or cheat the system to qualify for more money; rather, it places great responsibility on disability applicants to accurately report their employment earnings and other sources of income. Seeking out, compiling, and clearly communicating historical personal income data can be difficult. Working with an experienced and dedicated Ohio Social Security lawyer on this is highly recommended so you do not end up underreporting past earnings or overlooking current income.

Your legal ally can also help you understand and deal with how receiving other kinds of disability support may affect your SSDI benefits. For instance, the following forms of payments may lower your Social Security benefits:

  • Civil service disability benefits
  • State temporary disability benefits
  • State or local government retirement benefits that are based on disability

Conversely, these types of benefits will not cause adjustments to SSDI payments:

  • Veterans Affairs benefits
  • Public pension payments on which you pay income taxes
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Federal SSI and a related Ohio state government program called the Disabled Workers Relief Fund (DWRF) deserve special mention here. Each exists to ensure that permanently disabled people do not fall too far into poverty simply because a physical disability or incurable illness leaves them unable to earn adequate income. SSI and DWRF payments are assigned by need, with Ohio Workers’ Compensation explaining on its website that the “fund was created to assist injured workers who have been declared permanently and totally disabled whose compensation rates have not kept pace with inflation and the cost of living.”

If you need help from a Columbus workers’ compensation attorney or Social Security disability attorney, contact Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman by calling (800) 678-3318 or filling out this web form. The initial consultation is free.

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Worker’s Comp Lawyers Columbus, Ohio - Agee Clymer

140 E. Town St. #1100
Columbus, OH 43215