How Does My Work Comp Benefits Affect My Social Security Disability?
For injured workers that qualify for both workers’ compensation payments and Social Security disability, there is a reduction that is made in benefits paid by Social Security or by the insurance company in payments made. The idea is that injured workers should not receive a windfall by being unable to work. A windfall happens when a worker receives more money by being disabled than when working. Therefore, the combination of social security disability benefits payable to an injured worker plus workers’ compensation benefit may not exceed 80% of the worker’s average weekly wage. (The reduction does not apply when he worker is receiving Social Security retirement benefits.)
In the majority of states, this reduction (known as the offset) is done by Social Security. However, Florida is one of few “reverse offset” states where the reduction is done by the insurance company. Therefore, work comp insurance companies in Florida are allowed to reduce the work comp payments to injured workers while Social Security continues to pay the full amount. (In order for Social Security to recognize a “reverse offset” state, the State had to have an offset plan in place prior to 1981.)
Many injured workers worker’s will decide to settle their cases for a lump sum amount of money in exchange for the insurance company being released from the responsibility to pay benefits. Social Security is aware of this and may reduce future disability benefits if the settlement paperwork is not properly prepared. Social Security has several ways of converting a lump sum workers' comp payment into a monthly benefit for the purposes of calculating an offset, and it will take a close look at the language of the settlement document when it is offsetting a lump sum. If you are worried about Social Security reducing your future SSDI benefits because of a workers' compensation settlement, you should consult an experienced Florida workers’ compensation/Social Security disability attorney to help you resolve your worker’s compensation case in a way that leaves you with the most money possible each month.
Syfrett, Dykes & Furr has attorneys experienced in both Florida Workers’ compensation and Social Security disability. This knowledge and experience can help protect your right to future
Social Security disability only if you consult with us BEFORE your work comp settlement. Let us help you by calling (850) 785-4442.
Kimberly J. Syfrett
Attorney at Law