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Disability, Workers Compensation, and Lawsuits...Information you should know!

A. Disability:

For disabled persons there are two (2) basic benefits you may be entitled to under the Social Security Act. Please review the following to help you in determining if you fall into either of those categories.

1. Social Security Disability Benefits:
These are benefits for someone who has a history of working and paying into the Social Security system, and who are therefore "covered", and who suffers a disabling injury and/or disease preventing them from continuing to work. Usually this monthly benefit approximates 66% of your average earnings over the last five (5) years prior to your disability.

2. Supplemental Security Income (commonly known as S.S.I.):
These are benefits for someone who does not have a history of paying into the Social Security system, whether it is due to age or a lack of employment history, and therefore are not "covered" for purposes of receiving Social Security Disability benefits, and are disabled. These S.S.I. payments are a minimal stipend of about $500.00 per month. You must have minimal assets and/or minimal family income in order to get this benefit.

B. Medicare Coverage:
This is health insurance coverage if you are eligible for Social Security Disability or S.S.I. If you are eligible for these benefits, the Medicare premiums of about $50.00 per month are deducted from your monthly benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is a "disability" for Social Security purposes?

A: A person has to have an injury, disease, or medical condition which prevents that person from engaging in any "substantial gainful activity." Basically this means your disability must be so severe as to prevent you from doing not only the work you performed in the past, but also any other type of work within the national economy. For instance, if a severe back injury prevents you from returning to a job where heavy lifting is involved, you may be able to do a lighter job, and therefore you would not be entitled to Social Security benefits.

Q: If I'm receiving Workers' Compensation benefits, am I entitled to Social Security benefits?

A: Yes, although the Social Security system has a different standard which has to be met, you could receive Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability benefits, although if you are receiving Workers' Compensation benefits the amount that you may be entitled to receive from Social Security will be reduced due to your receipt of Workers' Compensation benefits. However both benefits can be coordinated so that you receive the most money possible for your disability.

Q: I've been hurt in an automobile or other type of accident where I am suing another party. I have been out of work and am receiving Social Security Disability benefits. If I settle my lawsuit or get a judgment, do I need to reimburse Social Security?

A: No, any reimbursement or set-off (such as receiving Workers' Compensation payments) is strictly by Social Security law or regulation. There is no Social Security law which states that an injured person must give up Social Security Disability benefits or pay back Social Security for benefits received if he or she obtains a settlement or judgment from another party.