Thomas McCutcheon

Q: Why do workers compensation benefits reduce the amount of social security I receive?

Belinda, Moulton, AL

A: The law of workers compensation is complicated and ever changing.  Social Security law is complicated and ever changing.  Both have some component of mathematical determination and both have objective and subjective determinations that must be made.   In order words, certain facts must be present in each (objective), certain limitations and effects must be believed (subjective) and the final award is in large measure a product of a mathematical calculation.  

When an injured person receives social security disability, the law is that they may not then earn more than 80% of their pre-disability wages.  The law does not allow for someone to make more money not working than working and that makes some sense.  So if you begin receiving a weekly workers compensation benefit that would reduce the amount of the social security disability you would be entitled to receive for as long as you are receiving workers compensation payments. 

Workers compensation law is complicated by the fact that judges may only award benefits payable by the week.  A judge does not have the authority to order benefits paid in a lump sum.  Many cases would result in payments being made weekly in a small amount such as $32.00 a week over several years.  Most people would rather have that money all at once, in a lump sum.  

If your workers compensation attorney anticipates that you are or will receive social security disability, the law allows language in the workers compensation settlement to protect social security benefits.  If your workers compensation attorney knows about your social security potential they are then in the best possible position to advise you as to how to settle or resolve your on-the-job injury case in a manner that helps you the most.    

Whether you use us or another firm, always let your on-the-job injury attorney know if you have filed or anticipate filing for social security benefits. 

Buckle up and drive safely. 

 


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