Retirement and Your Workers’ Compensation Rights

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If you are a worker who is nearing the end of your career, you can still suffer a work-related injury that prevents you from performing your job. If you do, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. But what happens when the time comes to finally retire, but you’re still receiving workers’ compensation?

Voluntary Retirement

If you voluntarily retire from the workforce, your employer can file to cancel your workers’ compensation benefits. However, simply accepting a pension does not necessarily mean you have voluntarily retired. Your employer must prove that you have given up the search for work or otherwise removed yourself from the workforce.

If you are able to work at a reduced level and are engaged in a job search, even if work is unavailable, you have not removed yourself from the workforce. Accepting a pension – for retirement or disability – does not disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits you may be eligible for.

You may not even be able to look for work if your injury made you unable to work at all. This is certainly not voluntary retirement. All things being equal, you’d rather be healthy and able to work than the opposite.

Retirement & Social Security Income

You can receive retirement benefits like a pension while still working or seeking work, so pension payments do not automatically disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, the income from any pension benefits does lower – or offset – your workers compensation benefits on a pension through the employer in which you suffered the injury.

As an example, let’s say you began receiving pension payments from your previous employer at age 65, but you are still working. You get injured at work, and your workers’ compensation benefit is calculated at $2,000 per month. Your monthly pension check is for $750. Your workers’ compensation would be offset by that $750, lowering your monthly benefit to $1,250.

Social Security (old age) benefits can also offset your workers’ compensation benefits. If you start receiving Social Security after you received your work-related injury, your workers’ compensation benefits will lower based on 50% of your Social Security benefits.

If you have been injured at work and need to know your options, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer. The attorneys at Dugan & Associates have the experience to help you with your workers’ compensation case. Contact us for a free consultation.

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