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Can a Personal Injury Settlement Affect Social Security Disability?

Severe accidents in Philadelphia can have lifelong effects, including leaving people unable to work. Social Security disability benefits can help people pay their bills after an accident, but what happens if someone injured in an accident wins a personal injury settlement? Can people who get a settlement retain their Social Security benefits?

At Cooper, Schall & Levy, we understand your need for answers to these critical questions. We have over 60 years of legal experience and have a deep understanding of both personal injury law and Social Security disability regulations and requirements. We can answer your questions and provide the clarity you need to take care of yourself. This blog explains everything you need to know about how a personal injury settlement affects your Social Security disability benefits.

Social Security Benefits Explained

There are three main types of Social Security benefits. In addition to retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides two main types of benefits to people with disabilities or severe financial needs. Those two benefits are:

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – When people talk about Social Security disability, this is typically the program they mean. The SSDI program provides financial aid for workers with long-term or terminal injuries, provided the injured worker meets certain criteria. First, the injured worker must meet the SSA’s definition of disability. Second, the injured worker must have earned enough work credits to qualify by paying Social Security taxes on their income. What’s important to know about SSDI is that the program is not a needs-based benefit. If you qualify, you’ll get benefits, regardless of the amount of your income.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – The SSI program provides financial aid to people with disabilities or older adults with few or no financial resources. Unlike SSDI benefits, SSI benefits are based on the applicant’s income and other assets.

Will a Personal Injury Settlement Affect Your Social Security Disability Benefits? It Depends

Whether a personal injury settlement will affect your Social Security disability benefits depends on the type of benefits you receive. In general, a settlement should not affect SSDI benefits because that is not a needs-based program. All that matters is whether you meet the medical definition of disability and if you have earned enough work credits.

On the other hand, a personal injury settlement likely will impact your SSI benefits if you receive them. Eligibility for SSI is based on your income, and a large personal injury settlement could represent a substantial increase in your income. Depending on the size of the settlement, you could see a reduction in your SSI benefits or lose them entirely.

How Our Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You

If you have not already applied for Social Security benefits or have issues with your application, we can take care of the paperwork. We can represent you in any appeals if the SSA denies your claim. Studies show that only 20 percent of Social Security disability claims are approved after the initial application, while only 29 percent of claims are approved in total once you include cases eventually approved after an appeal. Having an experienced attorney handle your claim can make a significant difference in the outcome of your application.

We can also assist you in your fight for fair compensation in a personal injury claim. We’ll handle gathering the evidence to support your claim, filing the initial paperwork, negotiating with the insurance companies, and attending any necessary court hearings. We know how insurance companies think and the tactics they use to deny or reduce the value of your claim, and we can counter these tactics with compelling arguments.

Contact Our Philadelphia Injury Attorneys Today

With Cooper, Schall & Levy by your side, you can rest assured that we’re working diligently to maximize your personal injury settlement and protect your Social Security Disability benefits. Call us today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.