The answer to this question is yes. However, both the Social Security Act and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Act contain limits on the amount an injured worker can receive when he or she is receiving both benefits. This provision applies up to age 65 at present. It limits the receipt of combined workers compensation/Social Security Disability benefits to 80 per cent of what is defined as “average current earnings” as calculated by the Social Security Administration. This 80 per cent figure will vary with each individual worker. This limit may not apply to those who were high wage earners. The Federal Courts have held that the purpose of this limitation is to prevent injured workers from receiving more from disability than they earned while working.
This limitation applies to both types of disability benefits payable under the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Act, temporary disability and permanent disability. If a worker is receiving either temporary or partial permanent disability, Social Security will reduce it’s payments where necessary to bring the combined payments below the 80 per cent limit. If an injured worker is receiving permanent total disability, the worker’s compensation payments will be reduced up to age 62. At age 62 the injured worker will receive his or her full worker’s compensation amount and Social Security will reduce it’s payments to age 65.
Each injured worker’s situation is different. However, every injured worker who is receiving both Social Security Disability and worker’s compensation payments should make sure both the Social Security Administration and his or her worker’s compensation insurance company are aware that both benefits are being paid. This is important to avoid an overpayment of benefits which will result in the need to reimburse the overpayment. Injured workers should always consult experienced worker’s compensation attorneys to assist them in these matters. The attorneys in the Worker’s Compensation Department here at Stark & Stark are always ready to assist workers in obtaining their benefits.