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Does a Personal Injury Case Offset Social Security Benefits?


Accidents that cause personal injuries can be devastating, but you do have options to recover compensation from a person whose negligence was a factor. If you were hurt due to a car accident, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, slip and fall incidents, or other type of accident, you can file a claim and seek damages. However, if your injuries are severe enough that you are entitled to disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA), you may wonder about the impact on your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Alternatively, if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you might have questions about how a personal injury case affects your benefits. While you should discuss your specific circumstances with a Maryland SSDI and SSI attorney, some general information may help explain application of the relevant laws.

SSDI Versus SSI 

Before getting to personal injury claims and how they affect your benefits, it is important to clear up some confusion regarding the different programs administered by the SSA. There are two types of benefits for people with temporary or permanent disability:

  • SSDI is a program to provide financial assistance to individuals who have paid into SSA through deductions from their paychecks. Self-employed workers also contribute to the Social Security trust. There are certain requirements to obtain benefits, including accruing the minimum number of work credits for the length of time you worked.
  • SSI is needs-based, intended to provide benefits for disabled, elderly, and low-income individuals. The focus is your income, not the amount of time you worked or paid into Social Security.

No SSDI Offset 

If you receive SSDI for a qualifying disability, your benefits are not offset or otherwise affected by a personal injury claim. Regardless of whether you recover compensation through a pre-trial settlement or a verdict in court, you will continue to receive benefits for as long as you remain eligible for SSDI 

Implications for SSI 

Because the basis for SSI is your income, prevailing on a personal injury claim does impact your benefits. The income you report for SSI purposes is different now that you recovered compensation for your losses. The monetary damages you receive could reduce your benefits or make you ineligible for the program. There are still options to protect your benefits in the event of a personal injury claim, which is critical because even a large recovery amount can quickly dissipate when applied to your medical expenses. A special needs trust is an alternative because the income goes to the trust entity, not paid to you.

Set Up a Free Consultation with a Maryland SSDI and SSI Lawyer Today 

If you currently receive SSDI or SSI benefits, it is important to consult with a skilled SSDI and SSI attorney regarding a potential personal injury claim. Our lawyers at Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC have experience with these types of cases, and we can tell you more about how the relevant laws apply to your situation. Please contact our firm to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in several Maryland cities, including Glen Burnie, Owings Mills, Ellicott City, and Annapolis, MD.

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