Can I collect SSD and disability benefits from a private insurer?

As valuable as Social Security disability benefits are to people who receive them, it's important to point out that these payments alone may not be enough to cover monthly expenses. Because this is often the case, people with disabilities must find alternate ways of maximizing their income. For some it may mean returning to work while for others it may mean looking into collecting other forms of disability benefits.

But doing the latter of these two options raises an important question: can a person collect both SSD and disability benefits from a private insurer at the same time? It's a good question and one that we will answer in this week's blog post.

For starters, the answer to the question above is yes. A person can receive disability benefits from an insurance company while also collecting disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. But what may come as even better news is the fact that the amounts received from these benefits are independent from one another. This means that the compensation received from your private insurer will not affect the amount you will receive from the SSA.

However, the opposite may not be true. Getting Social Security disablilty benefits can reduce private disability payments, particularly if the private insurance comes from your job. Almost all group disability plans through employers have a feature called coordination of benefits with Social Security. The private insurance company can make you file for Social Security. When the government benefits come through, the insurance company usually pays you less. Be sure to ask the private insurance company or an experienced Social Security disability lawyer about this.

It's worth pointing out though that this is not necessarily the case with workers' compensation benefits that cover disability or other public disability benefits. SSA defines these other benefits as compensation that is "paid by a federal, state or local government and are for disabling medical conditions that are not job-related." These additional disability benefits must not exceed 80 percent of your average earnings before you were disabled. If the additional benefits are more than this amount, your SSDI benefits may be reduced.

Source: The Social Security Administration, "How Workers' Compensation And Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits," Accessed Nov. 12, 2014

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