Can I apply for Social Security Disability while on workers compensation?

Can I apply for Social Security Disability while on workers compensation?

If you are receiving workers compensation, you can apply for Social Security Disability benefits. The receipt of this benefit would not interfere with your application. Your disability claim will go to the state disability determination agency for a medical disability determination just like any other disability applicant's case.

If your disability claim is an approval, your benefit amount will be affected by the workers compensation benefit you receive. Disability beneficiaries who received workers compensation are subject to an offset of their Social Security benefits. This simply means you will not receive the full amount of your Social Security Disability benefits as long as you are receiving weekly workers compensation benefits.

This offset will continue to age 65 unless you began workers compensation prior to 1981. The workers compensation offset end date for those who have receiving since prior to 1981 would age 62.

If you settle your workers compensation claim, your attorney will or should include a clincher statement prorating the settlement over the course of your lifetime.

This will greatly reduce the amount of any workers compensation offset to your ongoing Social Security Disability benefits.

Another option might be to take your reduced retirement at age 62 and keep a technical entitlement to disability. Workers compensation does not apply to a retirement benefit. By taking the reduced retirement benefit, you may have more money coming in than you could have had remaining on your worker compensation offset disability benefits. You can switch back to your disability benefit at age 65 allowing you to receive your unreduced disability benefits.

Workers compensation can be confusing, so make sure to thoroughly discuss your options with a Social Security claims specialist to ascertain what would be best for your situation.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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