If you receive Social Security benefits and are thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit, seek consultation with an attorney— because receiving any settlement funds from a case might affect your Social Security benefits.
The two most extensive federal programs that assist people with disabilities are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While the Social Security Administration administers both, the two programs differ in many ways. To learn more, visit this page.
What are SSDI and SSI?
Social Security Disability Insurance. It is an entitlement program that pays you and specific members of your family benefits on the account that you have worked long enough to receive those benefits, have paid into the system for specified years, and were diagnosed with a medical condition that qualifies as a disability according to the program’s rules. Social Security taxes fund the program.
Supplemental Security Income, on the other hand, is a program based on needs that benefits those with demonstrated financial needs and medical conditions that qualify as the program’s definition of disability. General tax revenues fund the program.
Does my personal injury lawsuit affect my social security benefits?
It depends. It might and it might not, depending on the type of benefits you receive.
As SSI is a needs-based program, it is obvious that any settlement money you receive can affect your SSI benefits. Because settlement funds could alleviate your needs, you are obliged to report any asset, income, or money you may have recovered from a personal injury lawsuit. Having a special needs trust can protect your benefits a little. Consult with an experienced lawyer to help you understand how to protect your benefits.
Unlike SSI, SSDI is not a needs-based program. It is an entitlement program, and its benefits do not depend on your income. But, if you receive both SSI and SSDI benefits during an ongoing personal injury lawsuit, it could affect your benefit amount.
These assistance programs are complicated. Contact your lawyer immediately to learn your options and the best ways to protect your benefits.
Can I lose a personal injury lawsuit for being on disability?
Just because you receive disability assistance does not stop you from filing a personal injury case or receiving compensation for the damages you incurred. But, the compensation amount can reduce the social security benefits you receive. If you want to learn how to protect your benefits, you can consult with an experienced lawyer with experience dealing with cases of this kind before.