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Will I lose my SSI disabiity benefits since I have received a one time settlement form a work comp lawsuit ?

Ukiah, CA |

I began receivng SSI disability in july of 2011 , I have received a one time settlement for a work comp injury from 2007. will this diqualify me from receiveing future disability benefits ?. Also how long do I have to report this to social security ?

Attorney Answers 4


SSI Benefits are income-based. In order to be eligible to recieve these benefits, you must meet certain income requirements. In general, you must have under $2,000. in resources. These can be anything that is able to be liquidated including bank accounts, savings accounts, 401K's, some insurance policies, etc. An explanation of "resources" can be found here:

If your settlement amount exceeds the $2,000. limit, you will be ineligible to recieve SSI. However, once you spend this money, you can apply to have your benefits reinstated.

It is important to note that the Social Security Administration has guildelines for what this money can be spent on if you plan to apply for SSI immediately upon the money being spent. You can find those guidelines here:

If you not follow these guildelines you have to wait up to 36 months after you become eligible again to recieve SSI benefits.

You MUST report these resources to the Social Security Adminsitration. If you do not, you will eventually be charged with an overpayment, and will have to pay back the money you recieved for every month following the point that you recieved the settlement and became inelgigible.

Good Luck!

This answer contains general information only; and it is not intended as legal advice. It is not intended to and does not create an attorney client relationship. Information contained here is only a starting point and you should consider discussing your specific problem in depth with a licensed attorney.

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if it is really ssd and the proper papers are filed, it will be reduced a bit. but if it is ssi it might wipe out the ssi depending on how much you get. your attorney should be able to figure it out before you settle.

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How a lump sum Workers Compensation settlement affects Social Security depends on the nature of the settlement. Compensation for lost wages affects Social Security. Compensation awarded for future medical expenses or attorney fees does not affect Social Security.

Are you sure it is SSI and not SSD you actually are receiving? I would suspect that since you have a work history (based on your statement that your are receiving a workers' compensation settlement) that you might be receiving SSD.

In my opinion, Social Security Disability (SSD) is a much better program to be on than is Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSD is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons. To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, the worker must earn sufficient credits based on taxable work to be "insured" for Social Security purposes. Disability benefits are payable to: blind or disabled workers, their children, widow(er)s, and adults disabled since childhood The worker will get Medicare coverage automatically after receiving disability benefits for two years. The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker.

SSI is financed through general revenues from taxes, meaning benefits are not based on your prior work history. In most states, beneficiaries will automatically be eligible for Medicaid. SSI benefits are payable to: individuals age 65 or older, adults who are disabled or blind, children who are disabled or blind. Eligibility requirements: have limited income and resources, meet the living arrangement requirements, be a U.S. citizen or national, or in one of certain categories of aliens. The monthly payment varies up to the maximum federal benefit rate, which may be supplemented by the state.

As my esteemed colleagues have stated, if you actually are on SSI disability benefits then your WC settlement likely will end your SSI benefits until you "spend down" the lump sum money. If you are on SSD then Social Security will limit your total monthly combined (WC + SSD) benefits to 80% of your prior monthly salary (ACE figure). Your lump sum WC settlement will be converted to a monthly amount by dividing the total amount by either the number of months in your expected work life (resulting in a larger monthly WC amount) or the number of months in your life expectancy (resulting a smaller monthly WC amount). So IT IS VERY IMPORTANT that your WC attorney put the magic language into the WC settlement papers to reduce the potential offset (reduction) of your SSD benefits.

Social Security Disability Insurance and Workers Compensation combined cannot exceed 80 percent of pre-disability earnings. Social Security is reduced if combined benefits exceed the 80 percent cap. A lump sum award is prorated as if it were a weekly benefit. The reduction in Social Security continues until the offset is completed or until you reach full retirement age.

Bear in mind that even if your SSD amount is offset (reduced) you will still have the federal tax liability of what would have been the full amount of your SSD even though you are not getting all of your SSD. It's a wonderful system, ain't it?

Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.

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Workers' compensation offset issues are tricky - I regularly appeal cases where SSA messes this up and occasionally testify as an expert on this issue.

You may want to talk to an attorney in your area so you can review the specific facts with counsel. You may contact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. Most attorneys who do any amount of Social Security work are members of NOSSCR and provide a free initial consultation. In any event, no attorney may charge a fee for work on a social security claim until it has been approved by Social Security. The fee limit is a maximum of 25% of past due or back due benefits you are owed, and many lawyers charge less than the full 25%, and the money is not paid until your claim has been approved.

The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is

In addition, you can find a Board certified specialist in Social Security by contacting the National Board of Trial Advocacy. They evaluate lawyers (independently) in many types of claims and require extensive experience and testing before a lawyer is certified. They have a section specifically for Social Security: The National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, Divisions of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.

Their link is:

You may also contact NADR (National Association of Disability Representatives) – automated Telephone Referral System at 1-800-747-6131

I hope this information helps. Good luck to you!
Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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