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Can I get both workers compensation and Social Security Disability benefits at the same time?

Yes, however the Social Security Administration may adjust or offset the amount they pay based on how much you receive from workers compensation. The general rule of thumb is that the total of your earnings through workers compensation combined with your Social Security Disability benefits cannot be more than 80% of your original earnings.

For example, let's say that the claimant earned $4000 per month before becoming disabled. The total amount of their workers compensation combined with their Social Security Disability benefits must be less than 80% or $3200. If your combined benefits exceed that threshold, the Social Security Administration will offset your benefit amount to keep it at or below that $3200 mark.

If your workers compensation expires, then the benefits received through Social Security will increase to the normal payment amount. The good news is that this rule only applies to public workers compensation programs. Privately funded pension and insurance benefits will not affect your Social Security Disability benefits.

In any case, there is no risk of being denied if you are getting public workers compensation payments during the application process or during the time it takes to have a claim approved. In addition, not all public benefits will fall into the category of this particular situation. If the claimant is receiving VA benefits, state and local government benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), then their disability benefits will not be affected.

This seems confusing at first, but the end result is that eligibility for Social Security disability benefits are not based on workers compensation, and there is no penalty for collecting both. However, if you receive a lump sum compensation payment or your compensation amount increases or decreases, it is important to contact the Social Security office because your benefits can be adjusted to reflect these changes.