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Do workers' compensation benefits affect SSDI benefits?

Many people in the Houston area have injuries that limit their ability to earn a living. Some are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, some are eligible for workers' compensation disability benefits and some are eligible for both. Sorting out the differences between SSDI benefits and workers' compensation benefits is often a complex tax requiring the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney.

The basis for the two types of benefits is different. Workers' compensation benefits are paid to anyone who has suffered a work-related injury. Benefits for disability include permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, temporary partial disability and temporary total disability. SSDI benefits are based on the extent of the disability: a person must be totally and permanently disabled to collect SSDI benefits. The cause of the disabling condition is immaterial. SSDI benefits are not paid for either partial or temporary disability.

If a person is awarded both SSDI benefits and workers' compensation benefits, the payments are offset so that no one receives a combined benefit that exceeds 80 percent of the person's average current earnings before the beginning of the disability. The calculation of the reduction is ordinarily done by the Social Security office that supervises payment to the beneficiary. Accepting a lump sum workers' compensation disability benefit can affect the amount of SSDI benefits that the beneficiary receives.

Anyone with questions about SSDI and workers' compensation benefits may wish to consult an attorney with experience in handling such claims. A knowledgeable lawyer can answer questions about eligibility for each type of benefit, calculation of benefits and calculation of offsets. If the recipient disagrees with a decision regarding the award or calculation of benefits, an attorney can also assist with an appeal from that decision.

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