Social Security Disability Benefits are a monetary monthly payment you can be eligible for if you meet certain criteria. The nature of the criteria involved in determining eligibility for social security benefits concern your level of overall functional capacity. If you sustain an injury on the job that leaves you physically limited to such a degree that you are unable to return to work in any capacity, not even sedentary employment, you can be eligible for permanent total disability benefits (PTD) payable by the worker’s compensation insurance company. PTD benefits include payments to you every two weeks at a rate of 66 2/3 of your average weekly wage, plus payment of the expenses associated with the future medical care needed for the injury, or injuries, related to your work accident. As you may imagine, the cost of paying you every two weeks, plus the medical expenses associated with your treatment from the date you are determined permanently and totally disabled until your eligibility ends at age 75, is substantial. Your eligibility will not end if the disabling effects from your work accident prevented you from working a sufficient number of quarters in order to be eligible for social security disability benefits.
Determining the potential settlement value of a permanent total disability case involves a calculation of what is called the “present value.” This calculation is complex and requires consideration of numerous factors. If you wish to discuss these factors or the potential value of your case, please contact us for a free consultation at (727) 853-6275 or visit us online.
Am I eligible for social security disability benefits if I’m also considered permanently and totally disabled from a work accident? Yes. You can apply for social security disability benefits during the time you are receiving PTD benefits. In fact, applying for social security disability benefits is required in order to continue your eligibility for PTD benefits, Florida Statute 440.15(1)(f)(2). If you are deemed disabled by the social security administration, you will be eligible for treatment through Medicare and the monthly payments referenced above.
If I’m eligible for social security disability benefits, does that mean I’m automatically entitled to PTD benefits from the worker’s compensation carrier? No. A person claiming entitlement to PTD benefits must prove every element of the claim, including the most basic element of a causal connection between the compensable injury and the inability to earn wages. Receiving social security disability benefits does not prove permanent total disability under the criteria required by Florida’s worker’s compensation laws. You must still prove a causal connection between the award of federal social security disability benefits and the work accident. Bob Wilson Dodge v. Mohammed, 692 So.2d 287, 288 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997).
Settlements of workers compensation claims are voluntary. A worker’s compensation settlement is not something either you or the work comp carrier can simply make happen without the other party’s consent. You can’t force the work comp insurance company to settle your claim for any specific amount. The work comp insurance company cannot force you to accept any amount as a settlement. That being understood, the majority of all worker’s compensation claims do settle. More often than not, it is in your best interest to settle your claim. However, there are instances and circumstances where a settlement would NOT be in your best interest. A decision either way is something the Dolman Law Group can discuss with you during a free consultation. We’re aware of attorneys that strongly encourage their clients to settle their work comp claim regardless of the individual’s circumstances. Please review our website and take note of the various areas we practice. We handle more than worker’s compensation claims. We have no interest in you settling your claim unless it is indeed something you wish to do and after we’ve fully discussed the process with you. Contact us today at (727) 853-6275 for a free consultation.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652