Many retirees, and public employees in particular, must deal with serious health issues in their post-work lives. If your illness or injury was work-related, Seelig Law Offices can help you obtain New York civil service disability benefits, and any other retirement or disability benefits you are eligible for, like Social Security.
It is often possible to collect money from both systems, but sometimes these benefits are reduced because you are collecting from both. Our experienced team of New York City-based disability attorneys can help you figure out what benefits you are eligible for, and maximize your compensation.
Many people wonder why Social Security benefits are cut when someone is also receiving a disability pension. It doesn’t seem fair.
Unfortunately, policymakers have decided that letting someone collect benefits from two different systems is what is not fair. They don’t like that some people would end up getting more money per month in benefits than they earned per month while working.
There are two different times Social Security benefits are cut.
First, is the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). If you worked for an employer who didn’t withhold Social Security taxes from your salary, such as a government agency or an employer in another country, any retirement or disability pension you get from that work can reduce your Social Security benefits.
According to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), “As of December 2020, about 1.9 million people (or about 3% of all Social Security beneficiaries) were affected by the WEP. More than 1.8 million of those affected were retired-worker beneficiaries, which was about 4% of the entire retired-worker beneficiary population. The remaining affected individuals were disabled-worker beneficiaries and eligible family members of retired- or disabled-worker beneficiaries.”
The second way benefits are cut is through the Government Pension Offset (GPO) rule. The GPO reduces Social Security spousal or survivor benefits for spouses, ex-spouses, widows and widowers who also collect a non-covered pension from their government jobs.
According to the same GAO report, “In December 2020, 716,662 Social Security beneficiaries, or about 1% of all beneficiaries, had their benefits reduced by the GPO. Of those directly affected by the GPO, 53% were spouses and 47% were widow(er)s.The GPO affected 16% of all spouse beneficiaries and 9% of all widow(er) beneficiaries. About 71% of all GPO-affected beneficiaries had their benefits fully offset and about 29% had their benefits partially offset.”
Because a relatively small number of people are impacted by the WEP and GPO rules many people do not understand how they work. Anyone who thinks they may be impacted by one of these rules, or is worried their disability pension or Social Security benefits will be reduced for some other reason, should work with an experienced disability benefits attorney to tap into all of the benefits they deserve. If you are in New York City, the Seelig Law Group may be able to help you maximize your disability benefits. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.