Many people suffer a disability due to a workplace accident. If this has occurred to you, you may be able to seek both Florida workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. However, you will need to structure your benefits in a way that ensures you receive the maximum amount.
Attorney Frank M. Eidson understands the nuances of the laws that govern workers’ compensation and SSD benefits. He can carefully navigate these laws and strive to obtain the benefits you deserve after a work accident.
To discuss your case, contact us today for a free consultation. We serve injured workers in Orlando, Winter Park and across Florida. We’re ready to help you, too.
What is the Workers’ Compensation Offset?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides financial assistance to workers who have been injured or become ill and are unable to continue to work for a living. Workers’ compensation is a state-run program that ensures workers receive medical and lost-wage benefits if they have been hurt or become ill on the job and cannot work.
Although you can receive both types of benefits, your SSD benefits must be reduced so that your “total public disability benefit” does not exceed 80 percent of your average current earnings.
Your total public disability benefit includes:
- Workers’ compensation
- Social Security Disability (including benefits to family members)
- Other disability benefits paid under any federal, state or local public law or plan (such as civil service disability benefits, state temporary disability benefits and state or local government disability retirement benefits).
Certain public benefits are not calculated as part of your total benefit, including:
- Veterans Administration (VA) benefits
- Black Lung Part B benefits
- Railroad employee illness benefits
- Jones Act payments.
Your “average current earnings” are typically based on your average monthly pay in the calendar year of your highest earnings during the five years prior to your disability.
The workers’ compensation offset is applied to your monthly SSD benefit, including SSD benefits paid to family members. Benefits for your spouse or dependent children are offset before the offset is applied to your benefit.
If you receive a lump-sum settlement of your workers’ compensation claim, the settlement is subject to the offset. The lump sum is prorated to reflect the monthly rate that would have been paid if there had been periodic payments.
The offset ends when your workers’ compensation payments end or you reach full retirement age (65 years old). A change in the law effective in December 2015 eliminated the opportunity to enter early retirement at age 62 and end the offset.
Reducing the Impact of the Workers’ Compensation Offset
Because of the workers’ compensation offset, it is crucial to consider how your final workers’ compensation settlement will be structured if you also receive or expect to receive SSD benefits. You can take steps to minimize the impact of the offset.
First, when computing the offset, certain expenses connected with your workers’ compensation claim can be deducted from your total benefit, including past and future medical expenses. With a thorough calculation of your costs, which must be documented, this can represent considerable savings.
The offset is based on monthly benefits and is calculated the first month you receive SSD benefits and workers’ compensation benefits / public disability benefits. Therefore, another approach to reducing the offset is to structure a lump-sum settlement so that it is distributed in periodic payments. However, this “amortization provision” must be in the original settlement agreement.
These are just two considerations that must be explored in cases that combine workers’ compensation and SSD benefits. A full examination of benefits to be paid to you and your family – preferably early in the process – can help determine the most beneficial way to structure your claim.
Contact an Orlando Social Security Disability Lawyer
If you have a disabling injury that may qualify you for both workers’ compensation benefits and SSD benefits, you need the assistance of an attorney who understands how these benefits programs can work together for you.
Contact Frank M. Eidson, P.A. Our firm offers more than 30 years of experience with helping injured workers in Orlando, Winter Park and throughout Florida to obtain the benefits they need and deserve. We take a personalized approach to each case and seek solutions that will address your specific needs.
To learn more about how to maximize your benefits claim, contact us today by phone or through our online form. We can provide a free consultation.
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