Have you patiently waited through the Social Security disability (SSD) claim process and received approval for your benefits, only to now find yourself injured in an accident? If the accident involves the liability of another party, you will certainly need to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to secure the compensation you deserve. But the question is: how will the settlement money you receive from your claim affect your SSD benefits? What about the same question regarding Medicare benefits?
Status of SSD Benefits after receiving a settlement
Generally, the insurance benefits you receive from SSD insurance are not affected if you receive a settlement in a civil claim. That means the roughly 10 million SSD benefit recipients in the U.S. cannot loose these benefits if they also receive a payout from a personal injury claim. However, if you are currently receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from the Social Security Administration, you will likely have that income reduced if you obtain a personal injury settlement.
SSI is a needs-based program as opposed to an earnings-based program. It allows you to qualify without ever having employment or obtaining credits, as long as you meet specific income and asset limitations. If the amount of your settlement exceeds the income limit, your SSI payments may be reduced.
Status of Medicare benefits after receiving a settlement
Securing a settlement from a personal injury claim will not affect any Medicare benefits you receive, because those benefits are based on work history, not income or other financial resources. On the other hand, your Medicare premiums may be affected by a settlement. Medicare recipients are required to report the earnings of any settlement.
Medicaid benefits, which are provided to the needy and disabled, or subject to adjustment if a recipient has received a settlement.
Unlike SSI, Medicaid benefits are based on family size and income. If the personal injury settlement you receive raises your income over the limit, Medicaid, in addition to any subsidized housing benefits, and SNAP food assistance you currently receive may be reduced.
Status of SSD benefits after receiving a workers’ compensation settlement
Workers’ compensation is a public disability benefit. If the total payment you receive from SSD plus workers’ compensation is greater than 80% the average earnings you received prior to your injury or illness, your SSD benefit will be reduced. The level of reduction will be such that your total payment is not greater than 80% of your average prior earnings.
With that said, disability payments provided from insurance benefits, private pensions, or other private sources will not typically reduce your SSD benefits.
In conclusion, if you currently receive Social Security disability benefits and have also received a large personal injury settlement, you likely will not lose your SSD benefits. However, you may lose benefits from other programs you currently depend on for assistance such as Medicaid, SSI, or workers’ compensation.
Securing Social Security disability benefits can involve a long, complex, and lengthy process. It is important to have experienced legal support to help you navigate through the various potential pitfalls to ensure you secure your rightful benefits. If your SSD application has been denied, or your benefits have been unjustly reduced, our Tennessee Social Security disability attorneys at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm are here to fight on your behalf. With offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, and Knoxville, we serve the surrounding region with trusted and effective advocacy. To arrange a free case review, call us today at 615.425.2500 or complete our contact form.
Nashville personal injury attorney Rocky McElhaney represents people who have been injured in car, truck and other automobile accidents as well as many other forms of negligence throughout the state of Tennessee.