Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

Can other benefits reduce SSD benefits?

Those who have contracted a serious illness may find themselves struggling with many aspects of their day-to-day lives. Caring for children, maintaining a household and working can all become difficult or even impossible. Making matters worse, when these individuals are unable to work, there may be significant financial strain thrust upon a family. The Social Security disability system may provide relief if a disabled individual can show that he or she qualifies for benefits. Yet, if that individual is receiving other benefits, then his or her SSD benefits may be reduced.

There are certain types of benefits that may reduce one's SSD benefits. Workers' compensation and other disability benefits granted by local and state governments may reduce SSD benefits if, when added to SSD benefits, the amount exceeds 80 percent of one's average earnings. In these instances, any amount in excess of that 80 percent threshold is directly reduced from one's SSD benefits.

There are some types of benefits that don't affect one's SSD benefits. Veteran's benefits and Supplement Security Income don't count toward the 80 percent average income limit, meaning that any monies received through these programs will have zero effect on one's SSD income. The same holds true for compensation received from local and state benefits where Social Security taxes have been paid.

Obtaining SSD benefits can be challenging enough, as wait times for a claim adjudication can be lengthy and many initial claims are denied, thereby requiring an appeal. But even once benefits are obtained, an individual can face a new host of challenges related to benefit retention. Thus, those who find their financial security threatened by reduced or eliminated disability benefits need to consider their options, as failing to do so could leave them without the financial resources they need and deserve.

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