Social security disability benefits are available to people who have been injured at work in D.C. (plus Maryland, Virginia and other states). And of course, social security disability is available to people who qualify for any number of medical conditions or injuries, whether or not they are caused by work, a serious car accident, a disease, etc.
So a lot of our workers comp clients also get social security because their injuries are severe and will prevent them from going back to work. But when you're on workers comp benefits, your social security is reduced because the social security administration can take an offset for workers comp benefits - the only thing they can take an offset, or credit for.
Workers comp benefits are not reduced because someone is on social security, however. So our clients typically apply for social security (and we refer them to a lawyer who specializes in social security cases - we don't handle those cases) for several reasons - even if they are getting the minimum from social security, it is a benefit they earned and deserve.
Plus, what if something happens with your workers comp case - your benefits get cut off and you have to wait for a hearing, you lose your case, the workers comp insurance company goes bankrupt? Those things may be unlikely, but why take the risk? Social security can at least provide some income to help if something goes wrong with your workers comp case.
The way to maximize your recovery (and that's what we do for our clients) is to look at all potential sources of benefits you can be entitled to.
And settling your D.C. workers comp case, if you do it right, can increase your social security disability benefits.
Social security law and regulations allow a lump sum workers comp settlement to be pro-rated over the injured worker's life expectancy, so that you can reduce the amount of the offset and increase your social security benefits after the settlement.
For example, after we settled the D.C. workers' comp case of one of our clients, his social security benefits increased by $700 per month.
Is it complicated? Sure, but that's why you need a lawyer who understands how to maximize the value of your recovery after a serious work injury. That's what we do.
If we can help you with a workers compensation case or question, give us a call. And we'll send you a free, no obligation book on D.C. workers comp law and benefits (we even pay the postage) so you can get the answers you need.