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How Settlements, Workers Comp, and an Injury Affect Your Social Security Benefits

After getting injured at work, you might consult a personal injury lawyer to get some assistance in claiming standard compensatory damages. But if a disability arises from your injury, there are other options that are available to you.

Research shows that disability in the United States is mainly caused by incidents at work. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), injuries and illnesses are the top factors that lead to disability, so social security benefits are provided to compensate affected workers. While state workers' compensation programs exist to cover the immediate effects of job-related injuries, social security programs benefit those who end up with a disability after getting injured or becoming ill.

Two Types Of Social Security Disability Programs


The SSA offers two disability programs: one that is contribution-based and one that is need-based. These are the Social Security Disability (SSD) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
The SSD targets people with disabilities who have contributed to the Social Security Trust Fund. To be part of the program, requirements must be met for credits earned and the amount of work rendered. SSI, meanwhile, generally covers the needs of those with disabilities, the elderly, and low-income individuals.

Disability Benefits And Settlements


Usually, clients seek a settlement to cover the immediate costs of an injury. But in worst-case scenarios, disability can hinder a person from working and paying for daily living costs. Turning to Social Security would be a life-saving option. If one asks their social security lawyer, "Will my settlement affect my disability benefits?" the lawyer might say that it depends on the type of disability program their client is registered under.

If you receive SSD benefits, a settlement will have no impact on you. The grant from SSD is based on your work history, not your financial needs. However, with SSI, a settlement will most likely affect your benefits. Since it is a need-based program, SSI will reduce your benefits with respect to the value of your settlement. In other words, bigger settlements mean lower benefits. You may also be deemed ineligible for the SSI program.

Disability Benefits And Workers Comp


Workers' compensation will most likely be an employer's option when dealing with work-related injuries or illnesses. Some people opt for SSD and a new job after abiding by SSA restrictions. But can you get workers' comp and SSD at the same time? Yes, you can.

A qualified worker can get SSD benefits and workers' comp at the same time if the total benefits they receive do not meet 80 percent of their current pay and are smaller than their family's pre-reduced Social Security benefits.

Disability Benefits And Injury


If you get into a car accident while receiving disability benefits, your social security lawyer will tell you that most Social Security cases are not be affected by succeeding injuries. They would most likely advise you on how you can best retain your settlement and disability benefits while you are in the middle of another injury case.

Your lawyer may ask you to use the money or compensation you get for the accident for household expenses. Even if it runs out, your Social Security benefits will still be there. However, the amount of money must not exceed $2,000. You can opt to put up a special needs trust for it. The trust protects the money and prevents your Social Security benefits from being affected in any way.

Disability benefits are an option when it comes to covering costs arising from work-related injuries. Even if you are in the middle of a settlement, a workers' compensation case, or another injury case, your personal injury lawyer can help you determine the best steps to take so you can keep as much of your benefits as possible.
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