When 49-year old Allie James fell down a flight of stairs at work, collecting disability benefits should have been the least of her problems. Instead, this permanently disabled worker fought in court for years to receive adequate benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). In 2010, the South Carolina State Supreme Court ruled that the state’s Workers Compensation Commission has the right to choose the accounting method to determine a disabled worker’s benefit amount in combination with Social Security payments. This means people like Allie James can use a different calculation method to get a higher benefit amount.
Previously, insurance companies would approach those injured in workplace accidents and offer them higher monthly benefits in return for a lower overall amount. In many states, the higher a workers compensation benefit is, the lower their disability benefits are. In James’ case, she would have received a smaller payment, considerably lower than the wage she earned before her injury. The insurance company offered her roughly $88 per week, according to The Charleston Post.
Had the company used a second accounting method, James would have been eligible to receive about $269 per month, an increase that could make a real difference in her life. On Wednesday we will discuss the relationship between workers compensation and disability benefits.
This case may affect many people in South Carolina who are struggling to get by after a career-ending accident or illness. These laws are decided on a state by state basis, however, so it will only affect citizens of that state. If you have questions or concerns about applying for disability benefits from the SSA, contact a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney. You may also reach us by phone, and our number is (918) 587-0050.