What is a Social Security Set Off
A serious workplace injury can generate one or more separate claims. For example, an injury on the job can in and of itself cause a permanent disability that prevents a person from working, or may combine with other pre-existing conditions resulting in an inability for the worker to return to gainful employment. In such situations, the work related accident leads to a workers’ compensation claim as well as a Social Security Disability claim.
If you are entitled to both workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability benefits, you need to be aware of the fact that the Social Security Administration has rules in place which may reduce the amount of Social Security Disability benefits you are entitled to (42 U.S.C. 424a). Understandably, the Administration does not want a situation where someone is making more money on disability that they were while working. In general, Social Security does not allow you to receive in combined workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security Disability benefits more than 80% of your average current earnings. So, if you have already been awarded disability benefits and you are still drawing weekly or bi-weekly workers’ compensation, your Social Security Disability benefit check may be lowered in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 424a.
You might think that the Set Off only applies while you are drawing workers’ compensation benefits, but that it stops once you settle your claim; you would be wrong. Unless your settlement has the appropriate language in it and is approved by a Judge in Alabama, the Social Security Administration will treat any lump sum settlement as though you are continuing to draw weekly workers’ compensation benefits at the same rate until the lump sum amount is exhausted. To prevent this offset from occurring, your settlement needs to have the appropriate language in it attributing the amount you are to receive from the settlement of your workers’ compensation claim over your life expectancy. The appropriate language could save you thousands of dollars in benefits.
Serious job injury claims often lead to a claim for Social Security Disability benefits, and that is why-if you do suffer a serious injury-it is important to hire a lawyer with experience in handling both Alabama workers compensation claims and those for Social Security Disability benefits.
If you have questions about your right to Alabama Workers’ Compensation benefits, or Social Security Disability or SSI benefits, don’t hesitate to contact and speak with one of the experienced attorneys at Powell and Denny today to schedule an in-person appointment, or to schedule a virtual appointment via Zoom for your convenience.
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What is a Social Security Set Off