Social Security Disability and Short Term Disability Benefits

I received a comment recently from someone who was receiving short-term disability benefits from their employer. The individual asked how short term disability benefits would affect his Social Security Disability since it would most likely be reported as earnings from the company.

Short-term disability entitlement does not affect an individual's ability to receive their Social Security Disability benefits. Social Security does not apply any kind of offset to their disability benefits if an individual is entitled to short or long term disability benefits from their employer or an outside disability insurance company.

Of course, that does not mean that an individual's short-term disability carrier will not offset what they pay the individual once they start receiving Social Security benefits.

So back to the specific question at hand--if an individual receives short-term disability benefits after their date of onset (the day they became unable to work due to their medical condition) and it is reported as earnings; what should they do?

They can do one of two things. They can have the amount of their short term disability benefits removed from their earnings record. Or they can wait and see if their short term disability benefits cause Social Security to question their work activity.

If Social Security questions an individual's earnings, they will contact the individual for an explanation of their work activity. At this point, the individual has to provide proof that they received short-term disability benefits for that time period. Either way, Social Security will not hold an individual accountable for short-term disability benefits that are reported as earnings provided that the individual can prove they received short-term disability benefits for the time period in question.

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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