You waited and waited and finally got approved for Social Security disability benefits, but now you’ve been injured in an accident.
Hopefully, you’ll hire a personal injury attorney and get the settlement you deserve. But how will that settlement money affect your disability benefits?
Every case is different, and we strongly urge you to discuss your case with an experienced Social Security disability attorney. Here are a few questions we can answer:
Question: Will my Social Security disability benefits be reduced if I get workers’ compensation (or other public disability benefits)?
Answer: Yes and No
YES: Public disability benefit payments paid under a federal, state, or local government law may affect your Social Security disability benefit.
If the combined total amount (Social Security disability payment plus your public disability payment) exceeds 80 percent of your average earnings before you became injured or ill, your Social Security disability benefit will be reduced so that the total does not exceed 80 percent of average prior earnings.
NO: Disability payments from private sources, such as a private pension or insurance benefit, do not affect your Social Security disability benefits.
Question: Will my Social Security disability benefits be reduced if I get a settlement check from a lawsuit?
Generally speaking, your Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) would not be affected if you received a settlement.
However, if you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through Social Security, your SSI would likely be decreased.
SSI is a needs-based rather than earnings-based program for which you can qualify without ever having held a job or accumulating credits, so long as you meet certain asset and income limitations.
Question: What about my medical benefits from Social Security? Will those be affected if I get a settlement?
Answer: Yes and No
YES: Medicaid benefits, which are provided to the disabled and the needy, would probably be affected by a settlement.
If you accept a lump sum settlement, you must report that to your Social Security caseworker within 10 days. Even if you choose to give away part of your settlement as a gift or a charitable donation, the government could reduce your Medicaid (as well as SNAP Food Assistance and Subsidized Housing benefits) or even seek reimbursement for the benefits you’ve received.
NO: Medicare benefits would not be affected because those are based on work history, not income or financial resources. However, a settlement may affect your Medicare premiums, and recipients must report those earnings.
If you are disabled and receive a large personal injury settlement, you probably won’t lose your Social Security disability benefits. However, you may lose other programs you may currently rely on, such as SSI or Medicaid. Call Hensley Legal Group today for a free, no-obligation consultation and talk to an experienced Social Security disability attorney about your case.