If you have been injured at work, you likely already know about the workers comp insurance that will pay your medical bills and some of your salary. If your injury turns out to be more long lasting, you may even be entitled to a lifetime of workers' comp benefits. When this happens, you may also be entitled to another form of compensation: Social Security disability. Read on for what you need to know about getting both of these valuable benefits at the same time.
Workers' Comp: This insurance is paid for by your employer and you are eligible from your very first moment of work; there is no waiting period. If your injury is severe and causes permanent damage, you can expect to continue to get coverage for the rest of your working life.
Social Security Disability: Just because you qualify for workers' comp does not mean you will qualify for Social Security. Getting coverage can be a complicated and long process, often taking years. You must be able to prove that you are unable to work at your job for a certain period of time. It is key that your injury or illness appear on the list of approved disorders and that you have sufficient medical records and a history of treatment to be approved. Additionally, even if you are approved, there is a mandatory waiting period before your benefits begin.
Getting Both at the Same Time: While it is possible to earn both benefits at the same time, the Social Security Administration places something called an "offset" on your benefits. Your Social Security payment is then reduced by that offset each month. The formula for calculating the offset is a bit complicated, but generally, your total monthly benefit amount from both workers' comp and Social Security cannot exceed 80% of the earnings from the job you worked at when you became disabled. Once you reach full retirement age, your offset is removed and you can earn the full amount from both programs.
Payment Structure: Perhaps you have heard those television commercials that refer to "structured payments or settlements". When your workers' comp injury is ruled permanent and your settlement is negotiated, the manner that you receive payments should be part of the deal. There are ways to be paid that may allow you to receive more money from both programs. Settlement negotiations are complicated and can be stressful, so be sure to get the assistance of a workers' comp attorney before you sign the documents.
11 May 2017