Some workers acquire injuries from their workplace that leads to a disability. In such cases, the workers may qualify to receive both workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Unfortunately, an "offset" may limit the total benefits obtainable from both programs.
An offset reduces the SSDI so that an eligible person receives not more than 80% of his average earnings before the injury. The rules of a workers’ compensation offset are complex, and they also vary by state. That's why you'll need to contact one of the best workers comp lawyers in Lancaster, PA.
How Social Security Calculates the Offset The Social Security Administration (SSA) first determines the total amount of your combined benefits every month. This calculation is the "applicable limit," and it can be either of the following:
● 80% of your pre-injury income, your average current earnings, or
● the total SSDI that all members of your family receive in the first month you get your workers’ comp benefit. It's also called "total family benefit."
In most cases, SSA uses the average current earnings when determining total benefits. Every month, the SSA will calculate the combined benefits, and if they exceed your average current earnings, they'll bring it down to the applicable limit.
Calculating Your Average Current Earnings Social security calculates your average current earnings using the following formulas;
● The average monthly formula: The average monthly earning on which your SSDI is based.
● The high-five formula: The average monthly earning from your five highest-earning years in a row.
● The high-one formula: The average monthly wage from a single year. It can either be the year your disability began or any year from the five previous years.
Social security will use the formula that's most favorable to you, and most times, it's the high-one formula.
How the Offset Works SSA adds your SSDI benefits to your workers’ comp benefits. If there'll be an offset, it'll apply to your SSDI. Let's say the SSA determines your average earnings as $4,000, and your workers’ compensation benefit is $2,500 monthly.
Also, you qualify for an SSDI benefit of $2,000 per month. Your total combined benefits ($4,500) exceed 80% ($3,200) of your average earnings ($4,000). Therefore, SSA will reduce your SSDI to $1,200, leaving you with a total of $3,200.
Some states have a rule that reduces workers’ compensation benefits instead of SSDI. It's called a reverse offset rule. To understand how an offset or reverse offset applies to your case, discuss with one of the best workers compensation attorneys in Lancaster PA.
Conclusion The workers’ compensation offset may seem like a loss. However, there are different ways you can minimize this offset so it won't affect your total benefits. The best workers comp attorneys in Lancaster, PA, can show you how to maximize your benefits.
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