PIP and Social Security Payments

Written by Steven Matz on .

“Do I Have to Repay Social Security Benefits if I Get an Automobile Case Settlement?”

In some situations yes, in others, no.

A person who has a sufficient employment work history, and who is severely injured in a motor vehicle accident, may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. However, the no-fault carrier for that person is entitled to a credit of whatever amount of SSD payments the individual would receive. For example, if the disabled worker qualifies for $1000/month no-fault wage loss benefits, and also qualifies for $600/month SSD, the SSD will pay the $600, and no-fault $400. The individual would still get $1000 total, but not the sum of $1000 and $600. You do not have to repay SSD benefits out of any settlement you receive from the driver who caused the accident.

Remember: no-fault wage loss has a maximum term of three years from the date of the accident. After three years, if the injured person still qualifies for SSD, the amount received would go back to the full amount that Social Security alone pays. In the above example, the person would start receiving $600/month after the three-year anniversary of the accident.

There is a different, and very important concern for people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) , and who are injured in a collision. SSI pays benefits for people who have disabilities that have prevented them from working for a long time. If such a person is injured in a car accident (or has money coming from any kind of case or other sources), the SSI benefits may be cut off, or greatly reduced. This is because there is an upper limit to how much money an SSI recipient can have before the benefits are taken away.

There are Special Needs Trusts, and Pooled Trusts, that can shield settlement money from being counted against SSI benefits. These trusts have significant limitations as far as your being able to use the funds, although these limitations are usually preferable to having SSI benefits terminated or reduced.

It is important to recognize the difference between SSD and SSI, and to be sure that your lawyer takes the necessary steps to assure that you are receiving all the funds that you are entitled to, without jeopardizing your benefits.

A person who receives SSI, and who will be getting money from an auto case or other source, needs to consult with an attorney who understands the differences in these benefits, and who takes them into account from the beginning of your injury case.

Steven Matz

Written By
Steven Matz

Steven Matz
Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury. Mr. Matz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with high distinction and highest honors in 1974 from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor degree in 1977 from The George Washington University National Law Center. Mr. Matz lectures and publishes in a number of areas, including ethics, marketing, trial tactics, and head injury. Mr. Matz has served on the Michigan Association for Justice Executive Board and currently serves the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board as a Hearing Panel Chairman and Master. He is also a member of the State Bar Committee for Character and Fitness.
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The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 33 1/3%. Michigan court rules require that the attorney fee be computed on the net sum recovered after deducting all disbursements properly chargeable to the enforcement of the claim.

What does 22not33 mean, exactly?

We can charge 22% while virtually all other injury attorneys charge 33 1/3% because we are very, very, good at obtaining results for our clients. 

We do not spend millions of dollars on television ads; instead, we offer a lower fee to all our clients.  We do not have dozens of lower paid associates handling our work. All our clients are represented by Steven and Jared Matz. Steven Matz started the firm in 1977 and since then has dedicated his life to representing injury victims.  Jared joined the firm in 2016 but grew up listening to stories, discussing theories, and generally learning at the dinner table about how to effectively and compassionately represent injury victims. Jared Matz was literally born to represent individuals involved in motor vehicle crashes.

All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee and all our cases are handled at 22%. Whether the case settles or goes through trial, the fee does not change. While our competitors make excuses as to why they charge so much, we are obtaining results for our clients at a lower fee.

At a typical television advertising law firm, your first call will be handled by a receptionist, who may refer you to an intake person, who will discuss your claim with an intake manager, who then discusses your claim with an associate, who may then report to a partner. You may never speak with the person whose name is at the top of the letterhead. At Matz Injury Law you will always speak with either Steven Matz or Jared Matz.

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