If you’ve wondered whether you’re eligible to receive both Social Security benefits and workers’ compensation after your injury, you’re asking the right questions. Unfortunately, many people have little to no understanding of how each program works, leaving them without answers immediately following an injury. The good news? Most people are indeed eligible to receive benefits from each program. The bad news? It’s a lot more complicated than that.
Most people are eligible to receive benefits from both, but it’s complicated.
You will need the guidance of a Huntsville attorney who practices in the areas of Social Security disability and workers’ compensation if you are to achieve the most in-depth understanding of how these two programs can work together to support you and your family while you are unable to work.
What’s the difference between Social Security and workers’ compensation benefits?
Firstly, it’s important to distinguish each program based on how compensation is awarded. While workers’ compensation recognizes different degrees of wage-earning capability, Social Security benefits do not function in this manner. Workers’ compensation is essentially awarded on a sliding scale, while Social Security benefits are more “cut and dry.” A claimant is either able to work, rendering him or her unqualified to receive benefits, or said claimant is unable to work, qualifying him or her for Social Security. Workers’ compensation can only be awarded for claimants who were injured in their workplace, while Social Security benefits can be paid regardless of where an injury was sustained.
How are they calculated?
The reason that dual eligibility for each program is even possible lies in the difference between the two systems’ benefit calculations. Workers’ compensation benefits are determined by the average weekly wage for the 52 weeks prior to the date of injury. Social Security, on the other hand, is typically calculated by your average current earnings, or ACE. Your ACE is your highest average monthly gross earnings from either a five-year period or one year. Your combined benefits from both workers’ comp and Social Security cannot exceed 80 percent of your ACE. Therefore, your Social Security benefits will be determined by the difference between 80 percent of your ACE and your workers’ compensation benefit amount.
So, imagine your highest average monthly gross earnings for any five-year period in your career was $4,000. This would place your 80 percent maximum dual compensation figure at $3,200. If your employer’s insurance company only awards you $2,200 per month in workers’ compensation, you are entitled to receive up to $1,000 in Social Security benefits on a monthly basis. Any amount of Social Security benefits that exceeds this $1,000 amount would be considered as your “offset.”
Contact an Attorney at Martinson & Beason, P.C.
At Martinson & Beason, P.C., our experienced Social Security disability attorneys also handle workers’ compensation cases. We can therefore make sure that you are getting the full amount allowable by both programs. You deserve a Social Security disability attorney who will take a personal interest in your case and fight to ensure that your family is taken care of for decades to come. Call today for a consultation.