Social Security Disability (SSDI) and the Workers’ Compensation Offset in Pennsylvania
If you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits while also receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) in Pennsylvania, the so-called “workers’ compensation offset” may apply. When your SSDI benefits are subject to the workers’ compensation offset, they are basically reduced.
Generally, the workers’ compensation offset does not apply when an individual is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security retirement benefits. The goal of the offset is to reduce the worker’s total monthly amount of benefits to the applicable limit.
Social Security Disability and the Workers’ Compensation Offset
Under Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation law, individuals are eligible for workers’ comp benefits after sustaining an on-the-job injury or being diagnosed with a work-related illness. In some cases, injured workers are eligible to receive both workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI).
Many workers who qualify for both SSDI and workers’ comp benefits have long-term and serious work-related impairments and disabilities. According to the 42 USCA 424a, depending on an injured employee’s circumstances, SSDI benefits are reduced partially or fully by the amount of workers’ comp.
Here’s everything you need to know about the workers’ compensation offset on Social Security Disability Benefits in Pennsylvania:
- The workers’ comp offset will not apply after an individual reaches the age of Social Security Retirement age, depending on their circumstances;
- The offset will apply only when the total amount of the SSDI benefits plus the workers’ comp benefits exceeds 80% of the worker’s average current earnings;
- Before computing the appropriate offset, the SSA will exclude amounts for legal fees, past and future medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and certain other elements;
- The workers’ comp offset can affect monthly payments and lump-sum Workers’ Compensation settlements;
- If you sue a third-party for your occupational injury or illness and obtain compensation via a settlement or verdict, your employer’s insurance provider can be reimbursed for any workers’ comp benefits that have already been paid to you;
- You can restore any SSDI benefits that have been reduced due to the workers’ comp offset if your employer’s insurer is reimbursed for the workers’ compensation benefits; and
- Your SSDI benefits could be reduced until you reach your full retirement age (at this point, the SSA will replace your SSDI benefits with Social Security retirement benefits).
What Are the Average Current Earnings?
Since the workers’ compensation offset is based on the employee’s average current earnings, how do you determine those earnings? When calculating average current earnings, the SSA takes the highest of the three:
- Your unindexed primary insurance amount, or the average monthly wage that your SSDI benefits are based on;
- The “high five,” or the average monthly wage from the highest five consecutive years; or
- The “high one,” or the average monthly wage from one calendar year (the year when your disability began or any of the five years before that year).
Let our skilled Harrisburg Social Security disability lawyers at Ira H. Weinstock, PC, determine your average current earnings in your particular case. Our skilled Harrisburg Workers’ Compensation Attorneys can assist you with your Workers’ Compensation Settlement and help maximize the amount of your Social Security Disability benefits after settling your Workers’ Compensation case. Since every case is unique, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to determine the workers’ comp offset in your particular situation. Call at 717-238-1657 for a case evaluation.