2006-07-21 / Columnists

Social Security And You

The Relationship Between Social Security And Other Disability Insurance Programs
By James Glasser, Manager, Far Rockaway Social Security Center

James Glasser
James Glasser Here is a quick run-down on how different government and private disability insurance programs may affect Social Security disability eligibility.

First, Social Security provides disability insurance to insured workers for total disability - no benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. To be considered disabled (1) you must be unable to do any work and (2) your disability must be expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

Other private and public disability insurance programs may provide disability benefits for injuries or illnesses that last for only a short time, or for partial disability. If someone should meet the criteria for both Social Security and other disability benefit programs, this is what the law states: Disability payments from private insurance plans do not affect your Social Security disability benefits.

Also, if you receive Social Security disability benefits and Veterans Administration benefits, your Social Security benefit will not be reduced.

However, workers' compensation and other public disability benefits may reduce your Social Security benefits. Workers' compensation benefits are paid to a worker because of a job-related injury or illness. They may be paid by federal or state workers' compensation agencies, employers or by insurance companies on behalf of employers.

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

If you receive workers' compensation or other public disability benefits and Social Security disability benefits, generally the total amount of these benefits cannot exceed 80 percent of your average current earnings before you became disabled.

You may want to contact your private or state disability insurance program for more information about how Social Security could affect those benefits. For more information about the Social Security disability program, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call toll-free 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask for the publication, How Workers' Compensation And Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits.

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