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Can a person receive both workers' compensation and SSD benefits?

Philadelphia residents who suffer an injury or illness while on the job often turn to the workers' compensation system in order to obtain the financial resources they need while they are unable to work. If a person's injury is long-lasting, permanent and stops them from being able to work altogether, that person may also want to seek Social Security Disability benefits. However, can a person seek SSD benefits if that person is also receiving workers' compensation benefits?

The short answer is "yes," a person who is receiving workers' compensation benefits may also seek SSD benefits. However, the amount of SSD benefits that worker is entitled to receive may be reduced if that worker is also receiving workers' compensation benefits.

In essence, if a person is receiving workers' compensation benefits and SSD benefits at the same time, the entire amount they receive cannot be more than 80 percent of what the person earned on average before that person was injured or made ill. Anything in excess of this 80 percent figure will be taken out of the person's SSD benefits. This reduction in SSD benefits will continue until the person is 65 years old or until the person's workers' compensation benefits end. However, beginning on December 19, 2015, this reduction will continue until the person reaches full retirement age.

It is important for a person who is receiving both workers' compensation benefits and SSD benefits to notify the Social Security Administration if the amount of workers' compensation benefits changes or ends. In addition, the SSA should be notified if the person receives workers' compensation benefits as a lump-sum payment. These situations can all affect the amount of SSD benefits a person is eligible to receive.

It is important for people who suffer from a work accident to seek all the benefits they need to cope with their medical conditions. If the injury or illness is severe enough that it renders a person disabled, that person may want to apply for both workers' compensation and SSD benefits.

Source: socialsecurity.gov, "How Workers' Compensation And Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits," Accessed Aug. 17, 2015

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee