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Can I secure work comp benefits and disability benefits?

If a work-related injury or illness has left you unable to perform the same duties you once did or unable to perform any duties whatsoever, your foremost concern is understandably how you can offset this loss of income and continue to put food on the table.

As we've discussed before, those who find themselves in this unenviable position can take solace in the fact that they will likely be able to secure much-needed financial assistance via workers' compensation benefits. However, they should also be aware that they may be able to secure additional financial assistance via the Social Security disability insurance program.

While this is undoubtedly welcome news for many, they may understandably have questions about how their receipt of work comp benefits affects disability benefits in the event they otherwise qualify.

How do work comp benefits affect disability benefits?

In general, a worker can receive both types of payments unless the total amount of benefits received exceeds 80 percent of their average current earnings prior to the onset of the injury or illness.

What happens if this 80 percent threshold is crossed?

In the event the worker's total benefits exceed 80 percent of their average current earnings, the excess amount is deducted from the monthly disability benefits.

What about lump-sum payments?

If a worker receives a lump-sum payment instead of, or as a supplement to, monthly work comp benefits, this must reported to the Social Security Administration as it could affect the amount of disability benefits paid.

Is this the only circumstance in which I would have to report to the SSA?

The SSA requires injured workers to report any changes in the amount of their work comp benefits -- both increases and decreases -- as it may affect the amount of disability benefits paid.

Whether you have questions about securing work comp benefits or disability benefits, or concerns about how one may affect the other, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

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