What Income Will Affect Your Disability Benefits? (Workers Compensation, Wages etc)

A couple types of income generally affect Social Security Disability benefits: workman's compensation and work activity (wages).

Work activity is any activity for which an individual receives pay for their services. The amount an individual earns can affect their eligibility to receive disability benefits on a monthly basis and may even lead to a termination of disability benefits altogether.

Social Security notices and informational mailings often explain the importance of monitoring your work activity while receiving disability benefits and reporting all work activity timely. If you do not report your work and Social Security determines that you should not have received payment because of your earnings, you will have an overpayment.

If you are receiving workman's compensation, your Social Security Disability will be offset (reduced) by the amount of workman's compensation you are receiving. If your workman's compensation benefits are stopped and you receive a settlement, your Social Security Disability benefit may increase depending upon the language in your Workman's compensation settlement.

The important thing to remember about Workman's compensation and Social Security Disability is that there is an offset of benefits and that a failure to report workman's compensation benefits or settlements can cause you to have a large overpayment.

Supplemental Security Income disability also considers work activity. However, work is handled differently. SSI is a need-based program, therefore earnings are used to determine the monthly benefit of disability beneficiaries. Although SSI disability beneficiaries cannot be medically terminated because of work activity, their disability benefit can be stopped.

If an individual's disability benefit remains inactive due to income or resources (i.e. assets) for a year or more, the individual will have to file a new disability claim should they wish to receive disability benefits again.

Unlike Social Security Disability, other types of income may potentially affect your eligibility for SSI disability benefits. Long or short-term disability benefits, unemployment, workman's compensation, rental income, or any other kind of income affects your eligibility for SSI benefits.

Related information: How much are you allowed to work and earn if you apply for or receive disability benefits?.

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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