When you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI), you may have also filed for workers' compensation benefits. However, you are not able to recover full workers' compensation benefits at the same time as your SSDI. To maximize your benefits, you must work closely with a Social Security disability lawyer.
Maximum SSDI Benefits
You are not allowed to earn more than 80% of the amount that you earned when you were employed. Instead, you will see your SSDI benefits reduced through an offset based on the rules of your state. Social Security must first calculate the maximum amount of benefits you may be entitled to under federal law. This happens most often if you were earning a low income prior to becoming disabled.
Because your earnings will determine how the Social Security Administration (SSA) will calculate your benefits, it's important to know how they will determine your earnings. They have three methods of performing the calculation.
The SSA may base your earnings on your average monthly earnings. Another approach is the "high five." This takes into account your five highest-earning years. Your earnings will be based on the average monthly earnings of these years. Finally, there is the "high one." This takes into account the average monthly earnings for an entire year.
The SSA will continue to reduce your SSDI benefits until you reach retirement age. At this point, they will allow you to collect retirement benefits rather than disability benefits.
The Workers' Compensation Offset
Some states will also offset your worker's compensation benefits to account for receiving SSDI benefits. Then, you will receive your full SSDI benefits and simply receive what is referred to as a "reverse offset." However, you will not receive a reverse offset if the workers' compensation insurance provider offers you a lump sum instead of monthly benefits.
Social Security Disability Lawyers
With the help of a Social Security disability lawyer, you may be able to draft an agreement that will allow you to minimize your SSDI offset. This will allow you to have more money in your pocket at the end of the day.
For example, the lawyer may draft your settlement agreement to not include medical and legal expenses. Then, you will receive compensation to cover legal and medical expenses on top of the benefits that you deserve. For this reason, you shouldn't be worried about any fees you need to pay to your attorney.