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Can I get Social Security disability funds with other benefits?

After suffering an injury on the job, people may experience an inability to work for a lengthy period of time while they are receiving treatment or undergoing rehabilitation related to the injury. If the injured worker meets all of the eligibility requirements, he or she may be eligible for Social Security disability for injury, as well as other public and private disability-related benefits. For this reason, it is important to understand how those benefits relate to each other and what kinds of benefits an injured worker can receive at the same time.

In addition to Social Security disability, injured workers may also be entitled to private pension-related benefits, workers' compensation benefits, private disability insurance benefits, or other public disability benefits that are paid for local, state or federal governments. The receipt of disability benefits from the Social Security program is not affected at all by the simultaneous receipt of private pension or insurance benefits. This means that any potential Social Security disability benefit will not be reduced, regardless of the amount of benefits received from personally acquired and private disability insurance. There are likely different eligibility criteria for Social Security disability and private disability insurance, however, so they benefits may not actually be paid to or received by the injured worker at the exact same time, even though the receipt of one does not affect the other.

There is an interplay between Social Security disability benefits and other public disabillity programs, however. Examples of other types of public disability benefits are those paid for disabilities that are not necessarily job-related, such as civil service disability, state temporary disability benefits, etc. A person becomes eligible for workers' compensation benefits after he or she suffers a job-related injury or illness. The eligibility criteria for the other forms of public disability benefits differ.

In general, if an injured worker is eligible for both Social Security disability and some other type of public disability benefits, the total amount of benefits received may be limited. The current rule stipulates that the total amount received from SSD benefits and other public benefits can only total 80% or less of the average earned income prior to experiencing the disability. However, there are few types of public benefits that do not affect or reduce SSD benefits. These include Veterans Administration benefits, Supplemental Security Income, and state and local benefits received from the government, if Social Security taxes were already deducted.

Source: Social Security Administration, "How Workers' Compensation and Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits," accessed on Nov. 25, 2014

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