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Social Security Benefits and Workers Comp: How They Affect Each Other

Social Security disability benefits are awarded when the injured worker is unable to return to work as a result of their injury or medical state.

Knowing exactly how one set of benefits affects the other is essential, especially when it comes to negotiating a settlement for your worker’s comp case.

While worker’s compensation is designed to help injured workers get back on their feet, social security disability benefits are designed to help those who are unable to work still live a decent life. But, there is a limit to how much money you can receive.

So whether you are receiving Social Security benefits or may be eligible as a result of your work injury, here is how the two programs affect each other.

What Does Missouri Law Say?

Social Security disability benefits are awarded when the injured worker is unable to return to work as a result of their injury or medical state. However, some worker’s compensation cases may also award certain disability benefits to workers, in which case the Social Security disability benefits may be affected, either right away or in the future.

Your monthly Social Security disability benefits are added together with your worker’s comp, as well as any other kind of public benefits you may be receiving. The total amount of benefits you get legally cannot exceed 80% of your average earnings. What goes over is deducted from your Social Security benefits.

For instance, if you had an average earning of $5000 a month, and your total Social Security was $3000 a month, that would not be a problem. But, if your worker’s comp made you eligible for an additional $500 a month, that would put the total benefits $300 over 80% of your average earnings, which is $3,200. As a result, your disability benefits would be $300 lower while you receive worker’s compensation.

Your Social Security may continue to be lower even until you reach the age of 65 if the worker’s comp benefits do not stop until then (meaning your medical condition still makes you eligible for these benefits).

Can You Avoid This?

There is a way to prevent this from happening or at least minimize the impact, but you will need to work with a St. Louis work injury lawyer. An addendum can be added to the worker’s comp settlement or certain language that can be included in the settlement stipulation. However, this has to be added before you sign to accept the settlement, not after. Otherwise, it will not come into effect.

Consult a Work Injury Attorney

If you’re worried your worker’s comp benefits will affect your social security benefits, the only way to find out if that’s true is by talking to a St. Louis worker’s comp lawyer. For more than 25 years, the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann has been helping injured workers receive the benefits they need and deserve.

Call us today at (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online evaluation form to request a FREE consultation.

Updated: December 31, 2019