When life throws us curveballs, such as unexpected injuries due to a car accident, many of us don’t know where to turn. The good news is that if you receive Social Security Insurance (SSI) payments, there may be options available to help cover some costs associated with the medical bills resulting from these types of accidents. But what happens when you receive a settlement following the accident? Will it affect your SSI benefits?
The answer depends on several factors: how much money is involved in the settlement, whether any of the proceeds were used for medical expenses related to the crash, and whether those funds were taken out of other resources like 401(k) accounts or bank accounts. Understanding how these elements interact with one another can be tricky, but it’s essential for preserving your eligibility for SSI benefits.
If you have more questions, contact the team at Injury.io. Call now to book a free case review.
How Can a Car Accident Affect My Benefits?
A car accident can have serious consequences on your Social Security benefits. Here are four ways a car accident may affect them:
- Lost wages: If you’re unable to work due to the accident, you could lose out on some of your earnings that count towards qualifying for SSI or SSD payments.
- Medical expenses: Medical bills from an injury sustained in the crash must be paid before applying for disability benefits, and if there’s no insurance coverage available, then those costs will come out of pocket or through other means such as workers’ compensation.
- Loss of mobility aid: If you relied on a vehicle for transportation prior to the crash and now it has been damaged beyond repair, this could impact your ability to get around and qualify for certain types of assistance through SSI or SSD programs.
- Reduced benefits: Depending on how much money is awarded in a settlement, this could cause your monthly benefit amount to decrease if it exceeds the maximum allowed by law.
What Types of Settlements Are Available?
There are two main types of settlements that can be awarded in a car accident case: out-of-court and court-ordered
Out-of-court settlements involve both parties negotiating an agreement without the need for litigation. These agreements often include cash awards, payment plans, or other forms of compensation.
Court-ordered settlements refer to those reached through formal litigation in court; these typically involve larger monetary payments than out-of-court settlements due to potential punitive damages assessed by the judge presiding over the case.
In either situation, it is important to note that any money received from a settlement may affect your SSI benefits if you receive them.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Rule?
In most cases, a car accident settlement will affect your Social Security benefits. Though the amount of money you receive may be small or large, any additional income that is not earned through wages can result in a reduction in your SSI check. This includes settlements from court judgments and out-of-court agreements such as those related to auto accidents.
There are certain exceptions where receiving a settlement won’t count against your benefits, including if the claim was for an injury caused by abuse; however, these exceptions are highly specific and rare. If you use part of the funds to pay back medical expenses incurred due to the accident, then this, too, could help reduce or eliminate its impact on your benefits.
What Should I Do if My Settlement Affects My Benefits?
If your settlement affects your SSI benefits, you’ll need to act quickly. Here are a few steps you can take:
- Contact your local Social Security office as soon as possible. Make sure they know about the settlement and how it could affect your eligibility for SSI.
- Work with an attorney or other legal professional who specializes in disability law. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action and help protect your rights.
- Gather all available documentation related to the settlement and keep copies of everything filed with Social Security. This includes any paperwork relating to medical bills, treatment costs, lost wages, etc., that may have been included in the settlement agreement.
It’s important to understand that if your SSI benefits are affected by the accident settlement, there may be ways to minimize or even eliminate those effects. An experienced lawyer can help explain all of your options so you can make an informed decision about what is best for you and your family financially.
Contact Injury.io Today
Depending on the type of settlement you receive, and whether there are any exceptions that apply, you may need to adjust your benefits or take steps to protect them. If your settlement impacts your SSI eligibility or payments, it’s best to talk with an attorney who can provide advice tailored to your situation. That way, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done in order for you to get the most out of both your settlement and your SSI benefits. With the right guidance, you can ensure that any changes won’t lead to financial hardship and will help secure your future well-being.
Contact the team at Injury.io today to get the help you need.
Emily Wilson is a writer who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English studies from Ball State University in 2021. Since graduating, Emily has started her career in content writing, and she hopes to continue helping her audience learn and grow from her works.