Social Security Disability Benefits and Workers' Compensation Offsets

A common question we get from many of our clients deals with the issue of filing for both workers' comp and social security disability benefits. Some injured workers who are eligible for workers' compensation may also be eligible to receive social security disability benefits. However, the injured employee may not be able to receive the full amount of SSDI benefits and workers' comp benefits at the same time. 

Typically, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that SSDI benefits be reduced so that the total amount a disabled worker receives is no more than 80% of the amount he or she earned while fully employed. This reduction is called a workers' compensation “offset.”

What is an “Applicable Limit?”

To calculate the offset for an individual, the Social Security Administration first determines the “applicable limit,” or the maximum total amount of combined benefits that the injured person will receive each month under federal law. When a claimant receives more than the applicable limit, the SSA offsets disability benefits in the amount required to bring the total amount back down to that applicable limit. Workers' comp offsets of SSDI happen more often to those who had lower incomes while working, because their applicable limits are lower and easier to exceed once the worker begins to receive social security disability benefits and workers' compensation.

The applicable limit, or maximum amount of benefits, is the higher of either:

  • 80% of the workers' income (average current earnings) OR
  • The total amount of disability benefits received by the claimant and his or her family in the first month workers' compensation is received (total family benefit)

For many, the 80% of average current earnings number will be higher than the total family benefit, and Social Security will use it calculate the offset amount. 

If you still have questions about workers' compensation or social security disability benefits, please contact the Steinberg Law Firm for a free, confidential consultation. We have been serving injured workers for over 88 years, and we have extensive experience helping injured and disabled workers receive the compensation and benefits they need and deserve. Fill out our easy, online web form or call us day or night at 843-720-2800



Updated on November 1, 2016

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