Can You Avoid The Offset From Disability Benefits If You Get Workers’ Comp?

If you are eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits, it might be possible to also receive Social Security disability benefits if your impairment is expected to last 12 months or longer. However, once you start to receive disability benefits, your workers' compensation benefits could be reduced. If you are filing for disability in addition to workers' comp, here is what you need to know. 

Why Are Benefits Offset?

Social Security disability benefits can be offset if the total amount you would receive would exceed 80 percent of what you would have earned if you were able to work. Various factors can influence just how much the actual offset would be. 

Factors such as your state's laws on workers' compensation payments and whether or not you settled for a lump sum could have an impact on the offset. The Social Security Administration, or SSA, will inform you of exactly how much the offset is and how long it is expected to last. The offset can be ended if you stop receiving workers' compensation benefits. 

How Can You Lower the Amount of the Offset?

Depending on the reason for the offset, it might be possible for you to get the amount taken lowered. However, your options can be limited based on whether or not you are already receiving disability payments. 

If you have not yet started to receive workers' compensation benefits and you are negotiating a lump sum settlement, your attorney can use the settlement document to help reduce the potential offset by the SSA. 

Instead of the settlement document declaring that you received a lump sum payment, the payments could be stated as a monthly payment. For instance, if you are receiving $50,000, the document could declare that you would receive $50 for the next 1,000 months. As a result, the SSA would not view it as a significant increase in your income, but a small, monthly one. 

A settlement agreement sometimes includes medical and legal expenses as part of the lump sum. Although they are listed as such and you do not receive that money, the SSA can take them into account when determining whether or not to offset your benefits. 

However, if your attorney has those expenses excluded from the lump sum you are paid and listed separately. As a result, those funds are not part of the money assessed by the SSA.

Due to the complexities in handling offsets and workers' compensation benefits, it is important to consult with an attorney who is familiar with your state's laws and your particular situation. Contact professionals like Zavodnick, Perlmutter & Boccia LLC to learn more.