Many workers compensation clients who are unable to return to work after their injury apply for social security disability benefits. One of the first questions or concerns they have is how being on workers compensation will affect their social security case and vice versa. There are two questions there so lets take each in turn.
While your case is open and you are receiving medical care, social security will not have any affect on your workers compensation case. While you are actively recovering you can receive both social security and workers compensation benefits. However, being on social security may come into play when and if you decide to settle your case. First of all, being on social security disability sends a message to the workers compensation insurance carrier that you do not intend to go back to work. It suggests to the carrier that you intend to collect your workers compensation benefits for life. If the insurance carrier believes you will collect your benefit for the rest of your life in may increase your settlement amount. Secondly, being on social security disability benefits will affect the way your workers compensation settlement agreement is written should you decide to settle. If the agreement is incorrectly written your social security benefits could be terminated. At Snow Carpio and Weekley we build these protections into all of our workers compensation settlement agreements but some firms do not. It is important to inform your attorney that you are collecting social security disability benefits so they can write the agreement correctly.
As far as applying and getting on benefits go, collecting workers compensation benefits will not hurt you. However, if you are approved for social security disability benefits your monthly benefit amount received from social security is likely to be affected (i.e. reduced) based on what you are receiving from your workers compensation case. Do not worry, when and if you stop receiving workers compensation benefits, you can and should contact the Social Security Administration Office so your monthly benefit amount can be increased. The great thing about applying for social security disability while your workers compensation case is open is you have doctors who are willing to state specifically what you can and cannot do as far as work.
If you have either a workers compensation case or a social security disability case and have questions regarding how the two will affect each other feel free to contact Snow Carpio and Weekley for a free consultation statewide at 855-325-4781. You may also learn more about us by visiting our website at www.workinjuryaz.com.