Can I Collect Workers’ Comp and Social Security Disability in Georgia?
Disabled worker files for workers compensation in Georgia.

If you were disabled as a result of a workplace injury, you may qualify for one or more types of disability benefits. Two main sources of disability benefits in the United States are state workers’ compensation programs and the federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.

In some cases, it is possible to receive both types of benefits; however, filing a claim with each is complicated. The benefits you receive from one source could affect the payments to which you’re entitled from the other. Many Georgia workers seek the help of an experienced attorney to navigate the bureaucracy of each program and maximize the benefits they receive.

Contact Gregory Smith Law, LLC, for a free case review to learn more about how our knowledgeable Georgia workers’ compensation and SSDI lawyers can assist with your claim.

How Do Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation Benefits Work Together in Georgia?

Workers’ compensation is designed to provide income and medical benefits for employees who are injured on the job. Here in Georgia, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation requires all employers with three or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Workers’ comp covers both minor and major work-related injuries for all eligible employees, no matter how long they have been employed. Workers’ compensation benefits typically include coverage for medical bills and two-thirds of the income you lose from missed time at work. Many injured workers can recover workers’ comp benefits within a matter of weeks after filing a claim.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides similar benefits with several key distinctions. First of all, SSDI is a federal program funded by payroll taxes. SSDI benefits are intended to replace lost income for people who have substantial work histories and suffer from long-term disabilities. Workers must pay into the Social Security system through their payroll withholding taxes for several years before they are eligible to receive SSDI benefits.

You can typically only receive SSDI benefits if you are diagnosed with a medical condition or impairment that is expected to prevent you from performing any significant work for one year or longer. The amount of SSDI benefits you receive varies based on your lifetime earnings history at your disability onset date. Claims for SSDI benefits usually take several months or years to resolve.

It is possible for some claimants to receive workers’ compensation benefits while their SSDI claim is still pending. In some situations, claimants may be able to receive both types of benefits at the same time, but this can reduce the SSDI benefit amount.

According to a recent Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, approximately 432,000 workers who were receiving SSDI benefits had also filed claims for workers’ comp or other public disability benefits.

How Could Workers’ Compensation Affect My SSDI Benefits in GA?

It is entirely possible to receive both workers’ compensation and SSDI benefits at the same time, but the payments you receive from workers’ compensation may affect the amount of your SSDI payment. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the value of your workers’ comp and SSDI benefits combined cannot exceed 80 percent of your pre-disability income.

In some cases, you may be eligible for the full amount of your SSDI benefits while you receive workers’ compensation payments. However, if the value of your workers’ comp benefits is great enough to push your total monthly income over the 80-percent income cap, the SSA will “offset” your SSDI benefits to bring your income under the threshold. The excess amount is deducted from your SSDI payment.

How Can I Reduce the Impact of Workers’ Compensation Payments on My Social Security Disability Benefits?

There may be various ways to decrease or even eliminate the value of your SSDI benefits offset.

One strategy is to take an early retirement with regular Social Security retirement benefits. If you take an early retirement, your Social Security payments are not subject to the same offset requirements as they would be for SSDI benefits. However, retiring early could mean that you don’t receive your full retirement benefits, so it’s important to evaluate your circumstances and make sure that early retirement is the best option for you.

Another strategy is to obtain a lump-sum workers’ comp settlement with the help of a qualified attorney. You may be able to structure your settlement in such a way that you reduce the amount of your award that is considered “income.”  A lawyer can help you draft a settlement agreement that spreads out your lump-sum settlement payments over the rest of your lifetime, which reduces the workers’ comp benefits you would receive each month. With lower workers’ comp benefit payments, you would decrease your offset and receive more money overall in SSDI benefits.

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Georgia Today

If you’re pursuing workers’ comp benefits and SSDI benefits in Georgia, contact the dedicated workers’ compensation lawyers at Gregory Smith Law, LLC. We will work with you to claim benefits from all possible sources and structure your settlements to maximize your benefits. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case during a free, confidential consultation.

About the Author

Gregory Smith
Gregory founded Gregory Smith Law, LLC in his hometown of Augusta in 1993. Since that time, he has focused his practice exclusively on representing injured workers and their families after serious on-the-job accidents in Augusta and throughout Georgia. Gregory earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Augusta College and law degree from Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law in Macon. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, Augusta Bar Association, and the Georgia Injured Workers’ Advocates, an organization dedicated to protecting the rights of injured and ill workers in the Peach State. When he’s not in the office, Gregory enjoys bicycling, fishing, and spending time with his wife and three children.