Would a settlement with workers' compensation take away my disability insurance?

by Ibolya Balog, CPA | Aug 28, 2017

I was injured in an auto accident at work, resulting in full disability and termination from my employment (a municipality). I was awarded full Social Security Disability. My mother passed away during that time, and her home had been put in my name for security. Both of my siblings are married. The home is being sold. I have checked with the Public Employees’ Retirement Fund, and can retire with no penalty. Also, I’m looking at a settlement with workers’ compensation and possibly from the at-fault driver. My attorney tells me these things will take away my disability. Is this true?

There are laws and regulations to prevent individuals from “double dipping,” meaning that one kind of benefit may be used to offset another benefit or to reimburse payments received from one entity from proceeds of another. There are offset arrangements between Social Security Disability and workers’ compensation, where receiving benefit payments from workers’ compensation may deemed to have been paid by Social Security Disability Insurance.
You do not mention who paid for medical costs. If workers’ compensation insurance paid medical benefits, then receiving a settlement from the at-fault driver will go to reimburse the medical cost first, not to you. If any settlement received is deemed to be earned income, then it will result in the reduction or elimination of the Social Security disability payments. The proceeds of the sale of the inherited real estate should not have any effect on the disability payments.

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Answered by: Ibolya Balog, CPA, is an associate professor at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa.
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