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Do you lose if you're injured before Social Security retirement begins?

Three hundred miles east of Pittsburgh is a large, rural public school district that is nestled among the majestic vistas offered by the Pocono Mountains. A worker there recently prevailed in a workers' compensation dispute with the school district that was hoping to avoid paying a substantial portion of his benefits.

The man had fallen on ice at work and injured his hand, and the Pocono Mountain School District hoped it would not have to pay him full workers' comp benefits because he was just says away from retiring on Social Security before the workplace accident occurred.

Fortunately, a Commonwealth Court ruling recently ended those dreams the school district and its insurer had of getting off cheaply. The court decided the district would not be allowed to deduct any portion of his workers' comp benefits to offset the Social Security retirement benefits he was due to begin receiving just 18 days later.

According to a recent report, the man had filed his workers' comp claim stating that he had lost use of his left hand due to the fall and injury. That's hardly a minor injury, but nevertheless the insurer and school board hoped to reduce payments to him by 50 percent.

It should be noted that a workers' compensation judge can award a worker who suffers that type of serious injury up to 335 weeks of benefits. That works out to about six and a half years worth of benefits.

Remember, workers' comp benefits are typically about two-thirds of what a person earns. When the smoke clears from all the math involved, the man stood to lose around two years of annual income if the school board had prevailed.

Because he and his workers' compensation attorney fought his employer and employer's insurer when they attempted to reduce his benefits, he was able to receive full and fair compensation.

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