How Workers’ Compensation and Other Disability Payments May Affect Your SSDI Benefits in Virginia


Many adults apply for Social Security disability benefits because they have suffered a workplace injury that caused permanent restrictions. It’s common, therefore, for Social Security applicants to be receiving workers’ compensation and other disability benefits while waiting for a decision on their claim for SSDI benefits.


This article explains how workers’ compensation and other disability benefits you may be entitled to, such as long term disability or Virginia Retirement System benefits, may affect your SSDI benefits in Virginia. If you have any questions about your claim or are looking for legal representation, contact Richmond disability attorney Corey Pollard for a free consultation. There is no fee unless we win your case.


How Do Disability Payments from Private Sources Affect SSDI Benefits?


Disability payments from private sources, such as long term disability insurance benefits, short term disability benefits, or a private pension from a labor union or past employer, do not affect your SSDI benefits. You can receive these types of benefits without impacting your entitlement or receipt of Social Security disability benefits.


How Do Public Disability Benefits Affect Your Social Security Disability Benefits?


Workers’ compensation and some other public disability benefits, such as civil service disability benefits, state temporary disability benefits, and state or local government retirement benefits based on disability, may reduce the value of your SSDI claim.


If you receive workers’ compensation or other public disability benefits, and SSDI benefits, the total amount of these benefits cannot exceed 80 percent of your average current earnings before you became disabled under the Social Security Act. This is referred to as the “80 percent rule.”


How Do You Determine the Reduction of Social Security Disability Benefits Based on Workers Compensation or Other Public Disability Benefits?


When determining whether to reduce your SSDI benefits, the SSA adds your monthly Social Security disability benefits, including auxiliary benefits payable to your family members, with your workers’ compensation or other disability payment.


If the total amount of all applicable disability benefits exceeds 80 percent of your average current earnings, the excess amount is subtracted from your SSDI benefit. So your workers’ compensation or other public disability payment is not affected, but your SSDI benefit is.


Example: Before you became disabled your average earnings were $3,000 per month. You, your spouse, and your one dependent child were found eligible to receive a total of $2,000 per month. You also receive $1,000 per month in temporary total disability benefits through workers’ compensation. Because the total amount of disability benefits you would receive exceeds more than 80 percent of your average current earnings, your SSDI benefit would be reduced until the month you reach age 65, the month your other benefits stop, or until you reach a workers compensation settlement.


What Happens to My SSDI Benefits If I Get a Lump-Sum Disability Payment?


If you receive a lump sum workers’ compensation settlement payment or other disability payment above and beyond your monthly benefit, your SSDI benefits may be affected.


Call an experienced workers compensation lawyer if you are considering settling your workers’ comp case while your SSDI application is pending. There is language you should include in your workers’ comp settlement documents to increase the amount of SSDI benefits you may be entitled to.


It’s important that you report a change in the amount of your other disability payment to the SSA right away. Depending on the nature of the change, your SSDI benefit may increase.


Public Disability Benefits That Do Not Affect Your Social Security Disability Benefits


Your SSDI benefits will not be reduced if you receive one of the following types of public benefits:


  • Veterans Administration (VA) benefits
  • State and local government benefits if Social Security taxes were deducted from your earnings while working
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI benefits may, however, affect your receipt of SSI benefits.


Contact a Top-Rated Richmond, VA Social Security Lawyer


Taking on the Social Security process is frustrating and difficult. But we can help. Corey Pollard serves the residents of Richmond, Petersburg, Williamsburg, Hampton, Newport News, Fredericksburg, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and surrounding areas. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation. We’re ready to help.