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SSDI - Can I get SSA disability if I have already received compensation for my loss?

Recently on our disability forum we had a disability applicant ask if they could receive SSDI or SSI benefits if they have already received compensation for their loss. This blog will address how compensation may affect your SSDI or SSI benefits.

Injured and received personal injury settlement payment

If you have been injured due to the negligence of another person you may have filed a personal injury claim and won some type of settlement from the at-fault party. Does this preclude you from ever receiving disability benefits? Let’s look evaluate Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to see how they may both be affected.

SSDI and personal injury claims

The main question after any type of injury is whether or not you can continue to engage in substantial gainful activity. If you are able to work and if you make too much money, the SSA will deny your disability claim, regardless of the severity of your injuries. According to them, you are not disabled. So it will not be the personal injury compensation that keeps you from getting payment but the fact you are able to work.

Now, if you have been severely injured which means you are unable to work for at least 12 continuous months, your condition is severe, and you are considered “insured” for SSDI benefits, the SSA will not care that you have received a personal injury settlement already for your injuries. You would also be entitled to SSDI payments.

SSI and personal injury claims

With Supplemental Security Income or SSI the issues will be a bit different. Yes, you will still have to prove you are severely injured and cannot work (this criteria is the same as SSDI) but you will also have to prove you have VERY limited income and resources. SSI is not based on your work history or whether you have not paid into the SSA system; it is just for those claimants who have very limited income and resources.

Now, if you receive a large personal injury settlement payment this will be considered a “resource” and you may be denied SSI benefits if the settlement amount is higher than the allowable limit.

Worker's compensation and SSDI benefits

What if you were injured on the job and you received worker’s compensation or if you have an ongoing settlement payment? Although disability payments from private sources, such as private pension or insurance benefits, do not affect your Social Security disability benefits, worker’s compensation and other public disability payments can.

According to the SSA, “If you receive workers’ compensation or other public disability benefits and Social Security disability benefits, the total amount of these benefits cannot exceed 80 percent of your average current earnings before you became disabled.”

It is highly recommended that if you are currently receiving worker’s compensation benefits that you do not apply for SSDI or SSI benefits unless you have first discuss your case with a work comp lawyer who is familiar with the laws of your state.
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