Iowa workers' compensation benefits and disability benefits can play a significant role in the amount of compensation that an injured worker receives. When a person says disability, there can be a few different types of disability such as:
Social Security Disability
This is what is most commonly referred to as disability. There are different types of Social Security Disability benefits, but we will discuss SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income). For both types of benefits, you or sometimes a loved one has to be considered disabled by the SSA (Social Security Administration) to receive any of these benefits. Generally, SSDI is for people who have enough work credits to qualify for benefits. SSI is for people who do not have enough work credits and do not have other sources of income.
Short term disability and long term disability
These are insurance policies often purchased through an employer that can provide benefits, but usually will provide little, if any benefits, to a person who is already receiving workers' compensation benefits. There is usually what is called an offset that reduces the amount of disability benefits available. There are many different policies, but it is common for short-term disability to last 6 to 12 months at which time you have to qualify for long term disability. Qualifying for long term disability benefits is usually more difficult and may require you to file for Social Security disability.
Accidental death and dismemberment
These disability policies will pay a set amount of money if someone dies or loses an arm, vision in an eye, etc.
What Should I Do About Disability if I Have a Workers' Compensation Case?
Here are some pointers in dealing with disability benefits in a workers' compensation case in Iowa:
It is not a good idea to just file for Social Security Disability without obtaining legal advice. There are several reasons for this including:
- It can reduce the amount of compensation that you receive in your workers' compensation case because judges sometimes view filing for disability in a negative fashion.
- You may not have a realistic chance of qualify for disability benefits and the mere act of filing can hurt your case.
- Even if you may eventually qualify for benefits, filing a claim for Social Security disability can make it much more difficult to obtain a lump-sum settlement in your workers' compensation case.
What is the Social Security Administration's Offset?
The SSA has special rules that apply if you receive workers' compensation benefits and then qualify for SSDI. Please keep in mind that if you try to settle your workers' compensation case on your own and do not take into consideration the SSA's offset provisions and include the proper language in the settlement documents, you can cost yourself tens of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, on more than one occasion we have had injured workers come to see us who thought they saved money by not hiring an attorney in their case. We had to tell them that they learned a very costly lesson because we could have obtained them significantly more workers' compensation benefits and protected their monthly Social Security disability payments from being reduced by the SSA's offset provisions.
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