In December 2016, approximately 450,000 disabled workers receiving Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) had filed for workers’ compensation benefits. This is according to the recently released Annual Report on the Social Security Disability Program – 2016.
Among disabled workers who are also receiving Social Security disability benefits, a disease of the musculoskeletal system was the most frequent primary diagnoses followed by mental disorders. Musculoskeletal diseases such as rotator cuff injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome are common work injuries and can be caused by repetitive motion, overuse or an acute injury.
Workers’ compensation, which is paid to a worker because of a job-related accident or illness is usually paid by an insurance company on behalf of the employer or by the employer itself. Workers’ compensation benefits may reduce Social Security disability benefits in some cases. Disability payments from private sources, such as private pension or insurance, usually do not affect Social Security disability benefits.
When looking at whether or not a disabled workers’ Social Security disability benefits will be reduced by receipt of workers’ compensation benefits, we look at the “80% ACE rule”.
The 80% ACE rule:
The total amount received from workers’ compensation or other public benefits and Social Security disability benefits cannot exceed 80 percent (80%) of the workers’ average current earnings (ACE) before he or she became disabled. The monthly Social Security disability benefit includes benefits payable to family members.
If the total amount of these benefits exceeds 80% of average current earnings, the excess is deducted from the Social Security benefit. The deduction will continue until the worker reaches age 65 or the month the other benefits stop, whichever comes first.
The interplay of workers’ compensation benefits, Social Security disability benefits and other public benefits, such as Medicaid, is very complex. We have seen that disabled workers receiving workers’ compensation benefits and who are also eligible for Social Security disability benefits, have very serious or even catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, amputations, spinal cord injuries, and back injuries.
Our experienced lawyers are proud to have helped hundreds of disabled workers receive the maximum workers’ compensation, Social Security disability and other public benefits that they and their families deserve.
If you have a workers’ comp injury and are receiving Social Security disability or are thinking of applying, please call our experienced lawyers at Kalter, Kalter & Mabey PLC for a free consultation.