Can I Receive Social Security Retirement Benefits and Workers' Compensation?

Sometimes, a work injury can be the last straw for a hardworking Montanan who is nearing their retirement. If a worker has done heavy physical work their whole life and an injury takes them out of work, it may be too late for them to start a new career.

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Posted: 12/04/2020
 Workers Compensation    Workplace Injury  

As a Montana worker, if you are nearing retirement age or you are working part time during your retirement, you may have questions about your workers compensation. If you are in this demographic, and you are injured at work, you likely have questions about your workers' compensation benefits and Social Security Retirement benefits. Our workers' compensation lawyers are experienced in this area and we are prepared to answer some of those questions for you.

Early Retirement and Workers' Compensation

Sometimes, a work injury can be the last straw for a hardworking Montanan who is nearing their retirement. If a worker has done heavy physical work their whole life and an injury takes them out of work, it may be too late for them to start a new career. In those circumstances, it is natural to think about early retirement and the option to start taking out Social Security benefits. However, people who have been injured at work should be very cautious about signing up for early retirement benefits through Social Security.

Although you can start taking retirement benefits at age 62, doing so may result in a reduction of your Social Security Retirement Benefit rate. In the context of an injury at work, the Montana Workers' Compensation Act provides that a person who takes Social Security Retirement benefits is not eligible for most Permanent Partial Disability benefits, Permanent Total Disability Benefits, or vocational rehabilitation benefits available through the Workers' Compensation system. As a result, opting for early retirement could cause you to miss out on the significant workers' compensation benefits that you are rightfully owed.

Even telling your employer that you are retiring or planning to retire may have consequences for your workers' compensation benefits. The workers' compensation insurer might deny benefits on the basis that your employer could have provided you with temporary light duty accommodations, if you had not retired. It is important that you explore all of your options before retiring and especially before telling your employer that you are thinking of retiring.

If you have been denied workers' compensation benefits because the insurance company considers you retired, you may be able to challenge that denial. It may be possible to withdraw from early retirement or to convert your retirement benefits to Social Security Disability benefits.

Conclusion

If an injury at work has you thinking about retirement, you may want to seek legal advice before taking any action. Timing is everything when attempting to navigate the workers' compensation system and the Social Security system. Our workers' compensation lawyers are available to answer questions and provide assistance for hard working people who have been injured at work. We have extensive experience advising our clients on how to protect their entitlement to benefits and get the most out of the workers' compensation system. Contact us for a consultation and to learn more.

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