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Offset provisions governing disabled worker benefits

Individuals injured and disabled upon the job often have concerns as to what benefits they are or are not entitled to. There are also questions as to whether the receipt of one kind of benefit will disqualify an individual from receiving another type of benefit.

Social Security disability insurance benefits may be available to injured workers so long as they have paid a sufficient amount of earnings into the Social Security system. However, the injured worked will only be eligible for these SSDI benefits if the injury resulted in a long-term impairment. The physical or mental impairment must be anticipated to last at least one year or result in the injured person's death.

When a worker is injured that person may also be eligible for workers' compensation permanent total disability benefits. It is possible that they could receive workers' compensation benefits and SSDI at the same time.

However, payments may be governed by offset provisions governed by the Social Security Administration and the state's workers' compensation statutes. These offset provisions govern any perceived combined overpayment. Also the SSA defer to state law concerning whether SSDI or workers' compensation payments will be offset.

The offset provisions are complex and the SSA uses a complicated formula concerning "average current earnings" pre-disability. This formula could be used to determine how much a disabled worker can receive concerning combined benefits. The maximum amount of benefits may also be determined by SSDI payments received by all members of the family.

It is not possible to address all questions or concerns regarding offset provisions in such a small space. Please do speak to an attorney familiar with both SSDI and workers' compensation benefits if questions concerning offsets arise.

Source: WorkersCompensation.com, "Social Security Disability Offset and Workers Compensation," May 1, 2014

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