Certain Disability Payments and Workers’ Compensation May Affect Your Social Security Benefits

By Deborah Banikowski
District Manager, Syracuse

Many people working nowadays have more than one job. This means they have several sources of income. It’s important to keep in mind that having multiple sources of income can sometimes affect your Social Security benefits; but, it depends on the source.

Disability payments from private sources, such as private pensions or insurance benefits, don’t affect your Social Security disability benefits. Workers’ compensation and other public disability benefits, however, may reduce what you receive from Social Security. Workers’ compensation benefits are paid to a worker because of a job-related injury or illness. These benefits may be paid by federal or state workers’ compensation agencies, employers, or by insurance companies on behalf of employers.

Public disability payments that may affect your Social Security benefits are those paid from a federal, state or local government for disabling medical conditions that are not job-related. Examples of these are civil service disability benefits, state temporary disability benefits, and state or local government retirement benefits that are based on disability.

Some public benefits don’t affect your Social Security disability benefits. If you receive Social Security disability benefits, and one of the following types of public benefits, your Social Security benefits will not be reduced:

• Veterans Administration benefits;

• State and local government benefits, if Social Security taxes were deducted from your earnings; or

• Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

You can read more about the possible ways your benefits might be reduced at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10018.pdf.

Please be sure to report changes. If there is a change in the amount of your other disability payment, or if those benefits stop, please notify us right away. Tell us if the amount of your workers’ compensation or public disability payment increases or decreases. Any change in the amount or frequency of these benefits is likely to affect the amount of your Social Security benefits.

An unexpected change in benefits can have unintended consequences. You can be better prepared if you’re informed and have financially prepared yourself. Visit our benefits planner webpage at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners for information about your options for securing your future.


Q&A

Q: How much will I receive if I qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits?

A: The amount of your SSI benefit depends on where you live and how much income you have. The maximum SSI payment varies nationwide. For 2019, the maximum federal SSI payment for an eligible individual is $771 a month and $1,157 a month for an eligible couple. However, many states add money to the basic payment. For more information, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi.

Q: Can I use the metal or plastic versions of Social Security cards that some companies make?

A: We don’t recommend it. There is no need to have a replica of your card. In most cases, the only time you may need to produce your Social Security card is when you apply for employment. At other times, we strongly recommend that you keep anything with your Social Security number on it with your other important papers. Do not carry your Social Security card with you. Also, we strongly advise against laminating your card. Your Social Security card has many security features, which are not detectable if laminated. Those features include latent images you can only see at an angle and color-shifting ink. You should question anyone else other than your employer who asks for your Social Security number or your card. Not everyone you do business with needs it. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

Q: I’m not sure when I’m going to retire so I want to estimate my retirement benefit at several different ages. What’s the easiest way to do that?

A: Using our Retirement Estimator is easy at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator, and it’s the best way for you to get a good idea of what your monthly benefit payment may be after you retire. The Estimator gives estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. Keep in mind, these are estimates and we can’t provide your actual benefit amount until you apply for benefits. You can use the Estimator if you have enough work to qualify for benefits and aren’t currently receiving benefits. If you are currently receiving only Medicare benefits, you can still get an estimate. You can learn about this subject by reading our publication, “Retirement Information For Medicare Beneficiaries,” available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

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