Disability Offsets

Massachusetts Attorneys Advising Applicants for Social Security

If you experience an injury that leaves you unable to work, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is just one of the several possible types of benefits that you may be entitled to receive. For instance, in addition to federal benefits, you may also be able to apply for state disability benefits. Or, if you are hurt while on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation payments for the duration of your injury. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our Social Security lawyers can help individuals throughout Massachusetts evaluate the benefits options available to them.

Disability Offsets

While individuals who are disabled are entitled to receive benefits to support their medical care and pay for basic living expenses, they are not entitled to receive the maximum amount of benefits from multiple different entities or programs. This would be considered “gaming the system” and would reduce the overall number of benefits available to all individuals who are in need. In order to achieve the goal of supporting disabled individuals throughout the United States, disability benefits programs must ensure that the maximum number of deserving applicants receive the benefits they are entitled to, and that individuals do not receive more benefits than they need. For this reason, when a disability applicant is receiving benefits from different federal and state programs, his or her SSDI benefits will be reduced proportionally. This is known as an SSDI offset.

Calculating Offsets

Offsets can occur when an SSDI recipient also receives state disability benefits or benefits from another program, such as workers’ compensation. When multiple benefit programs are combined for one recipient, the Social Security Administration requires that SSDI be reduced so that the overall benefits that a disabled individual receives are not more than 80% of what the individual was earning when he or she was employed full-time. Thus, the first step in calculating a disability recipient’s offset is to determine the “applicable” limit of benefits, or 80% of an applicant’s previous full-time earnings. Once this amount is determined, the SSA will then evaluate whether the recipient is receiving, in total, more benefits from all benefit programs than allowed under the “applicable limit.” If so, SSDI benefits will be reduced until the total number of benefits is brought within the acceptable range.

Watching Out for Reverse Offsetting

Just as the SSA may seek to reduce your SSDI to account for other benefits that you receive, it is important to make sure that the other benefits you are receiving are also not offsetting in response to your SSDI benefits. This is known as reverse offsetting, and it can incorrectly result in a double deduction of your benefits. If you find that your workers’ compensation benefits, for example, are being reduced in response to the SSDI that you receive, it is important to make the SSA aware of this offset, since it will then refrain from reducing your SSDI benefits in a comparable manner.

Explore Your Options with a Government Benefits Lawyer in Massachusetts

If you are receiving multiple forms of governmental benefits as a result of your disability, it is important to keep an eye on your benefit amounts and whether they approach or exceed 80% of your previous full-time income. If this is the case, you are not under an obligation to report such findings to the SSA, but you will likely find that your SSDI benefits are eventually reduced by an “offset amount.” At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our government benefits attorneys can guide Massachusetts residents through the SSDI eligibility process. We can assess the likelihood of offsets to your benefits, as well as double-checking that offsets are correctly calculated. Based in Boston, we represent individuals throughout Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth, Essex, and Middlesex Counties, as well as the Merrimack River area. Contact our office for more information at (800) 367-0871 or online.