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The Flint Journal ‘Ask the Attorney’ Column

Q.    I was injured at work a few years ago and have been receiving workers’ comp benefits because I am unable to work.  I turned 62 and signed up for Social Security Retirement early at the reduced rate to get some additional money to help with my bills. After doing that, my workers’ comp checks were reduced. Is this right?

A.    The Michigan Legislature in 1982 changed Michigan law to allow workers’ comp benefits to be reduced if you receive certain other benefits, including Social Security Retirement benefits. 50% of what you receive from Social Security Retirement can be used to reduce your workers’ compensation benefits (unless a worker was receiving Social Security Retirement before the injury.) If signing up for Social Security early did not put additional total dollars in your pocket, you may want to cancel your early election of Social Security benefits, which you can do within one year, and then have a higher benefit when you begin drawing benefits at a later age. Then the workers’ comp benefits should be restored to their former level.  You also ought to consider the possibility of filing for Social Security Disability instead: those benefits do not reduce workers’ comp in Michigan. Feel free to contact me for advice to discuss all of your options regarding your individual situation.