Can You Receive Both Social Security Disability and ERISA Benefits?
Many people who become disabled file claims for both Social Security disability benefits and for benefits under long-term disability policies – “ERISA” policies – provided by their employers. Some people will qualify to receive disability benefits from both sources.
However, even if you qualify for both Social Security and ERISA disability benefits, you won’t be able to “double-dip” from both funds. To ensure that you receive all of the benefits that you are entitled to – while remaining compliant with Social Security and ERISA rules – you’ll need the advice and services of a California disability benefits attorney at the McKennon Law Group.
How Do Social Security and ERISA Disability Benefits Work?
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 – ERISA – sets minimum federal standards for the retirement, pension, and insurance plans offered by many private employers, including health and disability insurance plans. ERISA governs only private employers and does not require them to offer insurance, retirement, or pension plans or benefits. ERISA merely sets some minimum standards for the programs that private employers choose to offer.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays monthly benefits to those who become disabled before their retirement age and are not able to work. To receive SSDI benefits, an applicant must suffer from a condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. SSDI benefits are available only to those with a “severe, long-term, total” disability.
Can Your Insurance Company Take Your SSDI Payments?
If you receive disability insurance benefits under an ERISA group plan, ERISA allows the insurance company to take advantage of a favorable decision by the Social Security Administration. If you claim and receive both Social Security and ERISA disability benefits after a disabling injury, what typically happens is that you’ll be paid disability insurance benefits while your Social Security disability claim is still pending.
For example, if you received ERISA disability benefits of $1,200 per month, and you are then awarded SSDI benefits of $900 per month including back payments for the months your SSDI claim was pending, the insurance company will seek to recover $900 for each month that the company paid you $1,200.
Many health and disability insurance policies allow the insurance company to sue a disabled person, after the disabled person has started receiving SSDI payments, to recover any insurance benefits that were overpaid.
Could You Be Sued By the Insurance Company?
However, if your disability insurance is provided by an employer through an ERISA plan, ERISA prevents insurance companies from directly suing SSDI recipients to recover overpayments. Instead, the insurance company may reduce payout amounts going forward to “offset” and recover any overpayments.
If all of this sounds complicated, it is. Before you file any claim for disability insurance benefits or SSDI benefits, the first step you should take is to schedule a consultation with a California disability benefits attorney at the McKennon Law Group. If you’ve been temporarily or permanently disabled, we can make sure that you receive every benefit that you are entitled to.
We Offer Sound Legal Advice and Decades of Experience
The McKennon Law Group has provided insurance-related legal advice and services to families and working people in California for over seventy years. If you’re involved in a dispute with an insurance company, we will act aggressively and effectively on your behalf.
Learn more by scheduling a no-cost, no-obligation legal consultation with a California insurance attorney at the McKennon Law Group. Call (800) 682-4137, or reach out to us now by completing the contact form on this website.