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Can I combine Social Security and workers' compensation benefits?

The dual system of Federal and state governments can lead to overlapping coverage of some kinds benefits under their agencies and programs. One such possible interaction between the Federal and state systems can be found in how federal Social Security disability benefits work in parallel with West Virginia workers' compensation benefits.

For example, what happens if you are injured at work, and the nature of your injuries is severe enough that you qualify not only for workers' compensation benefits but Social Security benefits as well? At first, this may seem to work to your advantage, especially given that it is possible that neither of these two benefit sources alone would replace your work income.

You might even be tempted to believe that the combination of the two benefits will make you better off than you were when you were earning a wage or a salary. If you were earning $4,000 monthly before you were injured, and your Social Security and workers' compensation benefits combined would total more than that, at first blush the injury seems to serve to your advantage.

Unfortunately, however, that scenario does not work in actuality. The maximum benefit amount that you can receive from both Social Security disability and workers' compensation can be no more than 80 percent of what you were earning before you were injured. If the combined benefit would be more than 80 percent, then the Social Security Administration will reduce your Social Security benefits until your total benefit does not exceed the maximum.

 You should also note, though, that in addition to Social Security and workers' compensation benefits you may be entitled to other government benefits if you are injured, and some of these -- such as veterans' benefits -- may not be subject to the same 80 percent combined limit described above. A law firm that is experienced and knowledgeable in Social Security disability and other benefits law may be able to help you to realize the maximum benefits allowable if you are injured on the job.

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