Posted by Foster Law on November 7, 2014
If you have been hurt at work or have developed a serious medical condition that prevents you from working, you may qualify to receive workers' compensation benefits. Some workers who are eligible for workers' compensation benefits in Washington State may also qualify for Social Security disability benefits, or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
Contrary to popular belief, Social Security isn't just a retirement benefit. If you are unable to work due to an injury or illness that is expected to last for more than a year, SSDI benefits can provide you with much-needed assistance either temporarily or permanently.
In most situations, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that Social Security disability benefits be reduced to account for the workers' compensation benefits a worker receives. This is called an “offset”. After combining workers' compensation benefits and disability benefits, the total monthly amount that a disabled worker receives is not supposed to exceed 80% of the amount he or she earned while fully employed.
How Offset Is Calculated
In order to calculate the amount of an offset, the SSA determines what the “applicable limit” is, or in other words, the maximum total monthly amount of combined benefits that the recipient is allowed to get under federal law. If a claimant receives more money than the applicable limit in any given month, the SSA offsets Social Security disability benefits. The applicable limit is the highest of either 80% of the worker's previous income (known as average current earnings) or the total amount of SSDI benefits received by all members of the worker's family (known as total family benefit). In most cases, the 80% figure is higher.
Many injured workers and workers with work-related illnesses are unaware of their rights and fail to receive all of the benefits to which they are entitled. If you're seeking workers' compensation benefits and Social Security disability benefits simultaneously, get advice from a workers' compensation attorney in Seattle. It's best to work with an attorney who has experience handling both types of claims if you're worried that the SSA will reduce your Social Security disability benefits because of the workers' compensation benefits you're receiving. A Seattle workers' compensation attorney with thorough knowledge of the Social Security disability system can help minimize the offset of Social Security disability benefits.
You and your family deserve the full range of benefits that are available to you. If you have been injured on the job or have a work-related illness that may qualify you for both workers' compensation and Social Security disability benefits, don't hesitate to contact Foster | Law P.C. We will act fiercely on your behalf to ensure that you get the benefits you deserve and will help you resolve your case in a way that maximizes the compensation you receive. Call 206-682-3436 to schedule a free consultation with our Seattle workers' compensation attorneys.