If you were injured in the workplace, it’s possible to qualify for disability benefits other than workers’ comp. For instance, if your injury has caused long-term impairments lasting more than a year, you could also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. But with the exception of private sources, there is a limit to how much money you can receive.
The maximum combination of your benefits from Social Security and workers’ compensation cannot exceed more than 80% of your average monthly pre-disability earnings. In the majority of states, the excess will be subtracted from your Social Security benefits. Florida, however, is one of a handful of states that practices a “reverse-offset.” This means that Social Security Disability benefits remain untouched while workers’ comp payments are reduced until the 80% cap is met. Reductions are taken until workers’ comp benefits run out or the recipient turns 62 (whichever happens first). In Florida, the responsibility rests with the employers and their insurance carriers to prove their eligibility for a workers’ comp offset.
Are there any exceptions?
If your workers’ comp was payed out in a lump sum, it’s possible to prorate the settlement over a reasonable estimation of your life expectancy. Typically, this leads to a fairly low monthly payment that is less likely to supercede the 80% benefits cap. In all scenarios, however, the process can get fairly complex. To get the most out of your disability payments, it’s best to enlist the help of an experienced attorney who knows how to navigate both systems.