How Workers Comp Affects Social Security Retirement Benefits

One of the most common concerns for injured workers is that opting for a worker’s compensation might affect their social security retirement benefits.

If you think about it, their concerns are not unfounded. After all, worker’s compensation can affect your Social Security Disability Benefits.

So, does workers’ compensation affect your Social Security Retirement Benefits? Yes, it can. But the answer is more complicated than just a simple “yes” or “no”. To start, you need to understand how social security retirement is computed.

How Workers Comp May Affect Your Retirement Benefits

Social security retirement benefits in the US are computed using the “credit” system. When you work, social security taxes are deducted from your pay. These taxes earn you corresponding social security credits.

If you are born in 1929 or later, you need to earn 40 credits (10 years of work) to claim retirement benefits. Being permanently disabled before reaching the required credits might affect your eligibility.

Aside from credits, your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) during your entire career also determine how much you’ll get. If there are times when you stopped working or are earning much less, you’ll get reduced benefits.

This is another part where your workers’ compensation might affect your retirement benefits. That’s because workers comp is granted on the assumption that your injury prevents you from going back to work or earning the same amount of income from before the accident.

Even if you get back to work after a time, there will still be months (or years) where you didn’t earn any income. This can affect your AIME and consequently reduce your benefits.

Can You Claim Retirement Benefits While Receiving Workers Compensation?

Yes, you can as long as you qualify for both, except when you’re a federal worker.

The Federal Employees Compensation Act of 1916 provides that workers comp recipients who have reached the retirement age may opt between workers comp or retirement benefits.

Many federal workers opt for the former as workers comp pay up to 75% of an employee’s salary tax-free. Retirement benefits, on the other hand, pay only 60%.

Other Benefit Options

If making ends meet is hard with your workers’ comp, you can still file for other disability benefits.

Most workers’ compensation recipients also qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits. These benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits once you reach retirement age.

You can also check if you’re qualified for state welfare programs. In Florida, there are three kinds of state-sponsored assistance programs for the disabled:

  • Temporary Cash Assistance Program. Families with children below 18 years of age may apply as long as they meet the program requirements.
  • Optional State Supplementation (OSS) Program. This is for disabled individuals and the elderly living in care homes and assisted living facilities.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. This program requires ongoing work participation from beneficiaries.

Why You Need a Lawyer

Navigating our workers’ compensation and social security system can be confusing and exhausting. Many social security benefits applications routinely get denied. Employers and insurance companies will also do their best to avoid paying workers comp.

This is why you need an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer like Victor Malca. He has been helping injured workers in Florida for over two decades. His extensive experience will help you get the benefits you rightfully deserve. Call us now for a free consultation.


Victor Malca P.A. has over 25 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success in fighting for his clients puts among the most trusted workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida. Our area of expertise is in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claim social security disability benefits.

Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida. Book a free consultation today.

Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca LawABOUT THE AUTHOR

Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.

Comments (1)

Hi I am filling out a SSA-1 for my brother to apply for his soc sec retirement benefit. He will be 62 this June. He has been receiving a 10% Workers Comp benefit of about $750/mo since about 1994. He has not worked since then and does not receive SS Disablity. Do I need to list this benefit amount on the SSA-1 application? If so, how/where? Much thanks, Mary

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