How Will My Workers’ Comp Settlement Affect My Benefits?


How Will My Workers’ Comp Settlement Affect My Benefits?

When considering whether to accept a settlement offer for workers’ compensation, you should understand how the settlement would affect your benefits. You need to know which rights you are giving up in exchange for the settlement amount. The settlement could greatly affect your future medical care and quality of life, so take the time to carefully determine the following.

Will the Settlement End Wage-Loss or Medical Benefits?

Some workers’ compensation settlements resolve all of your claims for benefits, while others only resolve some claims. For example, you might reach an agreement that your right to wage-loss benefits will get closed out but your claim for future medical benefits will remain open. Alternatively, you could negotiate a settlement for expenses relating to just one particular medical procedure, such as surgery. The timeframe of the settlement matters too – some settlements cover only the benefits due before the settlement is reached, while others extend to all benefits you could have received in the future.

The court will have to approve your settlement before you can receive it. Do not rely on the court to understand what you are agreeing to receive and what you are giving up. If you worked with an attorney to negotiate the settlement, your attorney can explain how the settlement will affect your benefits.

Will the Settlement Disqualify You from Government Benefits?

In some cases, getting a workers’ compensation settlement could disqualify you from government benefits. If you receive Medicaid benefits, for example, your benefit eligibility is based on a certain income level. Receiving a settlement dramatically increases your income for the month in which you receive it. After you report the settlement, you will not be eligible for benefits for that month and may not be eligible in the future if you are over a certain age and do not take further steps to minimize impact of the settlement on your eligibility. If you receive Social Security Disability benefits, you will need to report your settlement to the SSA, and the amount of benefits you receive could change.

Do You Have Replacement Income and Benefits Available?

One consideration in evaluating a settlement is whether you have replacement income and benefits available to use. If the settlement resolves all your future claims to workers’ compensation benefits due to your injury, you will receive a lump sump payment. Unfortunately, this may not cover all of your future medical costs or other costs of living. In other words, you still need to pay the rent and put food on the table. Look into the costs for getting health insurance if you do not have it, and consider whether you can return to work. You can investigate whether you will qualify for other government programs such as SSD if you do not already receive aid.

In over your head when negotiating with the insurance company in your workers’ compensation case? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.