Does Workers Comp Affect Social Security Retirement? Here’s What You Need to Know

March 7 2023

Generally, Social Security retirement benefits are not affected by workers’ compensation. If a person receives both workers’ compensation and Social Security retirement benefits, the total amount they receive may be reduced due to other factors such as other disability benefits or pensions.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

What is Workers’ Compensation? Workers’ compensation is a system of benefits that provides compensation for employees who are injured or otherwise become ill as a result of their employment. It is a form of insurance, usually purchased from private insurers or state-run programs, and provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees who are unable to work due to injury or illness. This helps employers minimize their liability for any costs associated with employee injuries and illnesses.

Employer’s favour this policy as it protects them from financial consequences related to workplace accidents or injuries. It also makes sense for workers to take advantage of the protection workers’ compensation provides, as it covers the medical costs and lost wages resulting from an injury. Furthermore, some states require employers to carry this coverage while others offer incentives if they choose to do so voluntarily.

On the other hand, opponents to such insurance argue that it can be ineffective and expensive for employers, as benefits are often delayed in approving claims or payments may not cover all of the needed medical care. Additionally, depending on an individual’s claim there may be many difficult questions that must be addressed during the process of obtaining the benefits – including if an event was truly job-related, if the employer had sufficient safety enforcements in place, and whether or not the employee was negligent in their duties at the time of injury.

Despite these potential drawbacks, workers’ compensation remains an important employee benefit that protects workers against financial losses caused by job-related injuries and illnesses. In the following section we will discuss how it affects Social Security Retirement.

Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Retirement

Worker’s compensation is a form of compensation provided to employees who are injured or contract an illness while on the job. If a worker cannot go back to their old job and gets a lower paying job due to the injury, they may receive lower wages for the rest of their life. This can result in a reduction of Social Security retirement benefits since Social Security payments are based on wages before retirement.

One potential argument is that if workers do receive an income-replacement subsidy from worker’s compensation, this should not reduce their Social Security retirement benefits, since they’re still getting only the same amount of money that they’d have been earning before their injury—just coming in at different times and through different sources. On the other hand, there is an argument that workers’ compensation shouldn’t be counted as ‘wages’, since it’s designed to replace lost wages rather than supplementing ongoing income.

Ultimately, it’s important to understand how these two factors play together when predicting retirement security. While Disability Insurance (DI) and Retirement Insurance (RI) benefits paid by Social Security are assessed separately and generally won’t be affected by Worker’s Compensation payments, understanding how Worker’s Compensation fits into your overall financial picture can help people plan for retirement with greater confidence. The next section will discuss in more detail how Workers’ Compensation affects Social Security eligibility and how to navigate its impacts.

How Workers’ Compensation Affects Social Security Eligibility

Understanding how workers’ compensation affects Social Security eligibility is essential for many individuals receiving benefits through the system. Depending on the type of compensation an individual receives, Social Security eligibility may be impacted in a few different ways.

First, individuals who are permanently and totally disabled cannot receive monthly Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments if they are also receiving worker’s compensation, regardless of the amount. The federal government restructured these policies years ago to incentivize employers to compensate employees for disabling injuries or illnesses without expecting them to exhaust their SSDI benefits in the process.

However, those who receive workers’ compensation can still qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a needs-based program designed for those who are elderly, blind, or disabled and have limited income and resources. Unlike with SSDI, there is not a blanket rule when it comes to collecting workers’ compensation and qualifying for SSI benefits. As long as applicants meet other qualifications including low income levels and limited assets, they may be able to collect both workers’ comp and SSI simultaneously.

Moreover, if an individual receives temporary disability through workers’ compensation instead of permanent disability status, they may be eligible for SSDI benefits. For this to occur, the individual must provide proof that they will return to work once the disability leaves but is currently unable to do so; this will help strengthen their application for benefits.

So does workers’ compensation affect Social Security eligibility? It all depends on the type of disability being claimed. Those pursuing permanent or total disability should understand that they cannot receive SSDI while simultaneously collecting workman’s comp; however, they may still be able to qualify for needs-based benefit programs like SSI depending on their assets and other qualifications. On the other hand, those experiencing temporary disabilities may still be eligible for SSDI if they meet additional requirements.

Now that we understand how workers’ compensation affects Social security eligibility, let’s take a look at how it could impact Social Security benefits in our next section: Does Workers’ Compensation Affect Social Security Benefits?

  • According to the Social Security Administration, workers who receive Workers’ Compensation or similar benefits may not be able to collect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
  • According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, most states that provide Workers’ Compensation benefits do not reduce the amount of Social Security Disability Insurance an individual can collect.
  • A study published in 2019 found that individuals with disabilities are eligible for both Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance, however the benefits received from each disability program must be offset against each other.

Does Workers’ Compensation Affect Social Security Benefits?

When it comes to workers’ compensation and Social Security, there is much debate as to whether or not these benefits are linked. Generally speaking, no, workers’ compensation benefits are not included in the calculation of your Social Security retirement benefits. However, disability benefits received under social security can affect the amount of your worker’s comp payments.

Those who have had to stop working before retirement age due to a workplace injury are often entitled to receive both workers’ compensation payments as well as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The amount of one benefit may affect the other depending on their total income from work.

For example, if you receive worker’s comp and SSDI payments that combined exceed 80% of your before-injury income, then SSDI might apply an offset reducing the worker’s comp payments. This means that the higher the SSDI payment, the lower your worker’s comp payment could potentially be. The opposite could also be true: if you received a low SSDI payment due to having little earnings prior to the injury, then your worker’s comp payments might increase instead since they will make up more of what you used to earn. As a result, when considering whether or not you should collect Social Security disability benefits, it is important to take into consideration how it may affect your workers’ compensation checks.

At the same time, if you’re still receiving social security disability when you reach full retirement age (67 for those born in 1960 or later), your disability benefits may automatically switch over to retirement payouts without requiring any action on your part. But even in this case, workers’ compensation will still remain separated from Social Security; once again making for separate calculations for each benefit that you receive.

Given that many different factors need to be taken into consideration when it comes to understanding how workers’ compensation might potentially influence the amount one receives from SSDI and vice versa, it is important that individuals seek professional advice when considering their options. Now let’s turn our attention to how income from worker’s compensations is taxable.

How Income From Worker’s Compensation is Taxable

Income from worker’s compensation benefits is generally considered taxable and is subject to federal, state, and local taxes. Depending on the type of settlement or case involved, employers may also be liable for tax obligations as well. Those who receive income from a worker’s compensation case can expect to pay taxes on the full amount that they receive.

Employers typically do not subtract taxes when paying out worker’s compensation benefits like they might with paychecks; therefore, it is important for the affected employee to include this income in their annual income tax returns. It is important for the employee to save documentation related to their worker’s compensation claim, including all statements and records of payment received, as these forms are needed to complete the necessary tax documents properly.

However, certain types of worker’s compensation payments are not considered taxable income under specific circumstances. For instance, if an injured person receives weekly wage-loss payments instead of a lump sum award or permanent disability payments, these benefits may be exempt from taxes. Additionally, employees who have received serious injury settlements—from an employer or insurance company—may not need to report those payments as taxable income if they were requested on their behalf due to personal physical injuries or sickness that has incapacitated them from working in the future. In this case, any interest obtained through the government will also be exempt from taxation.

Taxable eligibility for worker’s compensation income must carefully be taken into account when it comes calculating Social Security retirement eligibility as well. The next section will explore how taxable income earned through worker’s compensation affects Social Security credit eligibility and how workers can potentially gain additional benefits based on taxable earnings over time.

Taxable Eligibility for Social Security Credit

Taxable eligibility for Social Security credit is one of the primary considerations for individuals looking to receive Social Security benefits. While there is no direct correlation between Workers’ Compensation and Social Security retirement, certain aspects are intertwined that have an impact on whether or not someone qualifies for Social Security.

Generally speaking, any income earned from wages must be reported to the IRS and will be subject to federal tax withholding. This includes any earnings that may come as a result of Workers’ Compensation payments (pursuant to state regulations). However, it is important to note that this taxable income does not count towards earning work credits; each work credit represents $1,360 in income taxes paid by an individual during a calendar year (or up to four such years). These credits are necessary in order to receive the full benefit of Social Security retirement.

On the other hand, however, is the fact that many states allow workers’ compensation payments to be excluded from taxable income. This could open up several possibilities for those looking to qualify for higher Social Security benefits. For example, if an individual can exclude some of his/her Workers’ Compensation payments, then all of their remaining wages may push them over the income threshold necessary for sufficient work credits. In this case, choosing not to pay taxes on Workers’ Comp can have an indirect impact on qualifying for Social Security retirement benefits.

Deciding not to claim Workers’ Compensation income on one’s taxes can be a difficult decision based on individual circumstances. Ultimately, it requires a deep understanding of how potential tax savings and future Social Security benefits correspond with reducing taxable eligibility versus keeping more money in hand during a person’s working years.

Now that you understand how taxable eligibility affects Social Security credit when Workers’ Compensation is involved, let’s take a look at how it affects insurance benefits within the context of Social Security. The following section addresses the impact of Workers’ Compensation on Social Security Insurance.

Impact of Workers’ Compensation on Social Security Insurance

Workers’ compensation and Social Security insurance are two of the most important lifelines for workers in America. The possible interaction between these two programs, however, is a complex one. It is important to understand how workers’ compensation can potentially impact Social Security retirement benefits.

The primary factor that determines whether workers’ comp benefits will have any effect on Social Security retirement is the source of the worker’s compensation payments. If the payments come from a government agency or employer-sponsored self-insurance plan, they will not have any impact on Social Security retirement benefits. However, if the payments come from an insurance company, they could potentially reduce benefits by as much as 50%.

Furthermore, if the worker receives workers’ comp and Social Security disability benefits simultaneously (also known as concurrent benefits), Social Security disability benefits may be reduced due to the workers’ comp payments. This is because concurrent payments are generally limited to 80% of what the total amount would be if either benefit were paid separately.

Another factor that may also impact Social Security retirement benefits is any lump-sum settlement awarded in a workers’ comp lawsuit. Such awards can generally affect both Social Security retirement and disability at the same time, often resulting in reduced payments or delayed eligibility for both types of benefits.

Clearly, there are many factors to consider when determining the potential impacts of workers’ comp on Social Security retirement. It is important for those who receive workers’ compensation to understand all of the specifics involved in order to make an informed decision about their future.

Now that we have discussed the impacts of workers’ compensation on Social Security Insurance, our next section will focus on Spouses, Survivors and Dependents – and how they can be affected by a worker’s compensation claim.

Spouses, Survivors, and Dependents

Under the Social Security program, spouses, survivors, and dependents may be eligible for benefits such as retirement and disability. The amount of benefits a person can receive is based in part on the amount of work performed by the worker receiving workers’ comp benefits. For example, if a worker receives a higher monthly workers’ comp payment due to more time spent at their job, their spouse and/or dependents may be eligible for higher Social Security payments when that worker retires or passes away.

On the one hand, this can be beneficial for spouses and children of a worker receiving workers’ comp benefits; they may be eligible for higher Social Security payments that account for their partner’s income while they were working. On the other hand, these benefit calculations are complicated and not always straightforward, which can lead to confusion or delays in receiving payments. Additionally, some spouses and dependents may have difficulty proving that their loved one was employed during the time in question.

Finally, if a spouse or dependent is receiving survivor benefits from Social Security but also started getting certain kinds of workers’ comp funds at the same time, it could affect the amount of monthly benefit they receive from Social Security. This is especially true in cases where the injured worker was making significantly more money than their spouse or dependent when they were alive. Proper planning is necessary to avoid any potential reduction in benefits due to changes in circumstances related to workers’ compensation funds.

To conclude, understanding how workers’ comp affects Social Security retirement is important for spouses, survivors and dependents of someone who is receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Spouses and dependents need to be aware of possible changes to benefits when another family member receives workers’ comp payments, and should understand their rights regarding those benefits so that they do not lose out on money due to unintended consequences. In our next section, we will look at the conclusion of this discussion on how workers’ comp affects Social Security retirement.


After evaluating the evidence, it appears that workers’ compensation does affect Social Security Retirement. When an individual has received workers’ compensation benefits for a period of time, his or her Social Security retirement benefits may be reduced due to their inability to continually contribute during their extended absence from the workplace. However, when a person reaches retirement age and no longer has any outstanding workers’ compensation claims, his or her full Social Security Retirement benefits may be computed without significant reduction.

Furthermore, individuals who have received workers’ compensation benefits can still choose to receive Social Security Retirement benefits as well if they meet certain requirements. In order to do so, the claimant must provide proof of having actively contributed and seek advice from local and state officials to ensure they receive their maximum entitlement.

Ultimately both sides of this argument are weighed in carefully. On one hand, a reduction in Social Security Retirement benefits is one potential consequence of receiving workers’ compensation payments; on the other hand, the right steps need to be taken in order to ensure that individuals receive their full entitlement once they reach retirement age.

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

Are workers compensation and Social Security retirement benefits calculated differently?

Yes, workers compensation and Social Security retirement benefits are calculated differently. Workers compensation is based on an employee’s lost wages due to a work-related injury or illness, while Social Security retirement benefits are based on the employee’s total earnings over their entire working career.

Workers compensation payments are typically made out as a lump sum and do not count towards your Social Security total earnings, while Social Security retirement benefits may include payments from prior calendar year earnings that you have reported to the Social Security Administration. Additionally, workers compensation can impact your eligibility for Social Security disability payments, but does not generally impact your eligibility for regular Social Security retirement benefits.

Are there any exceptions to the rules regarding how workers compensation affects Social Security retirement benefits?

Yes, there are exceptions to the rules regarding how workers compensation affects Social Security retirement benefits. In general, Social Security does not reduce your retirement benefit based on workers compensation income, but there may be times when it can. For example, if you receive workers compensation from a public pension or social insurance program created by your employer, that could be counted as earned income and affect your Social Security retirement benefit. Additionally, if you receive workers compensation through a private disability policy or plan, that income could also be counted when calculating your Social Security retirement benefit. In the end, it’s important to understand how exactly any such income impacts your retirement benefits so you can make an informed decision about claiming them.

What types of Social Security retirement benefits are impacted by workers compensation?

When it comes to Social Security retirement benefits, workers compensation can affect both the amount of money you may receive from those benefits as well as your eligibility for them. This is because the two programs work together in order to ensure that employees who are injured on the job are able to continue receiving a steady income even after they retire.

For example, if an employee receives workers compensation payments due to a workplace injury, then any Social Security disability or retirement benefits that the individual may receive would be reduced by the amount of money being paid out by the workers’ compensation program. This means that your Social Security retirement income would be lower than if you had never been hurt on the job. If a worker retires while receiving workers’ compensation payments due to a workplace injury, his or her Social Security retirement benefit could be permanently reduced.

Additionally, if an employee has received more than nine months of workers compensation payments due to a work-related injury within five years prior to filing for Social Security retirement benefits, then that person may not be eligible for Social Security retirement at all. In this case, the individual must repay all of the workers’ compensation payments they have received before they can receive any Social Security retirement benefits.

Overall, it’s easy to see how workers’ compensation can have a major impact on an individual’s Social Security retirement benefits. By understanding how these two important programs interact with one another, individuals can make sure their retirement dreams remain intact.