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Can an insurance company garnish my benefits due to Social Security?

Osterhout Berger Daley > Practice Areas  > Social Security Disability  > Common Questions > Can an insurance company garnish my benefits due to Social Security?

If you’re currently on long-term disability insurance payments, you might wonder if you’re able to also collect on Social Security disability payments at the same time. While receiving both payments would be a huge benefit to many people who are unable to work because of their condition, most insurance companies have provisions written into their policies that make it impossible for a claimant to collect both at the same time. More often, the insurance company will ask you to apply for Social Security disability benefits so that they don’t have to continue to pay out the full amount for you.

Social Security Offset Provisions

Most insurance companies offering long-term disability insurance have some provisions on the insurance and benefits they provide concerning any Social Security disability insurance claims. Some policies will require that you apply for Social Security disability benefits to continue receiving the long-term disability benefits. And other policies will require you to pay back benefits that you received from the insurance company once you start receiving Social Security benefits. Additionally, your insurance company might decide that they’ll only pay the difference. For instance, if you were receiving $2,000 in benefits from your insurance company before you were approved for Social Security benefits, but Social Security only approved you for $1,000 in benefits, then your insurance company might choose to pay out $1,000 every month to keep you at a total of $2,000 in benefits.

When you’re eligible for Social Security disability benefits, it’s also very likely that your insurance provider will even help you complete the process of applying for benefits through the Social Security Administration. It’s in the insurance company’s best interest to get you on Social Security benefits so that they no longer have to pay as much out to you every month. If you’re not sure what your insurance company’s provisions on your policy entail, you should look at your paperwork so that you can know what to expect. Also, it’s okay to let the insurance company help you with the paperwork, but you should also understand that they might have a longer term plan to further lower the amount of money that they have to pay out on your behalf. You should also be aware that an experienced attorney might be better at guiding you along the process of getting Social Security disability benefits because we have the necessary experience.

Using the LTD Company Recommended Firm

When you’re going through the application or appeals process, it’s a good idea to use a representative to help you with the entire job. While most insurance companies have a list of preferred representatives, these people aren’t even necessarily attorneys, and they’re not going to be the most skilled at providing you with knowledgeable advice and experience. They might be more knowledgeable than the average person about working with the Social Security Administration and the entire process of being approved for disability benefits, but they don’t have the same level of expertise as an attorney that does work on Social Security disability claims all the time. The Social Security Administration lets non-attorneys represent claimants, but that doesn’t mean that they’re always the best choice.

Unfortunately, even though non-attorneys representing claimants don’t have the same level of knowledge and experience, they still charge the same prices that an experienced attorney will charge. That’s why it makes so much more sense to hire an attorney that you can be certain will be invested in your best interest and has the experience and knowledge to help you.

If you’re in the process of making a claim to the Social Security Administration, you’re better off hand-selecting your own representative rather than relying on the stock representatives that your insurance company might be recommending because if you go with someone who doesn’t have much experience or practical knowledge, the process of making your claim or appealing a decision might take longer or simply not go your way because of inexperience. Additionally, when you go through a skilled attorney that you choose yourself, you’re working with someone that you can be certain has your best interests at heart more than your the interests of the insurance company that’s paying them.


There are times when you might be required to pay your insurance company back if there was a time when you were receiving full payments from both the insurance company and the Social Security Administration. For instance, if you receive past-due payments from before you were approved for Social Security benefits, you might receive a lump sum of several hundred or even several thousand dollars from the Social Security Administration. At this point, you might have to pay some of that back to your long-term disability insurance company if that is written in your policy. The logic behind this claim is that the insurance company would have been only offsetting your Social Security disability benefits according to how the policy is written. But because you weren’t approved for your SSA benefits sooner, they didn’t adjust their contribution to your disability benefits in accordance with what the SSA is paying.

Basically, under most insurance policies, you can’t receive double payments at any point when you’re receiving benefits, so you have to pay back the overage. You should wait to confirm with your insurance company the exact amount before you send any payments to them because it’s more difficult to get overage payments back from your insurance company once you’ve made them even if they were in error.

Additionally, if you’re not able to pay your overages in full right away, some options let you pay in smaller amounts or simply receive less in payments every month from your insurance company. For instance, if you’re supposed to receive $1,000 every month from your insurance company in addition to the amount that you’re getting for your Social Security payment, but you owe $5,000 of repayments to your long-term disability insurance company, your insurance company could withhold $500 every month from your payment. Become fully aware of how your insurance company policy works because they might be allowed to reduce your payments to at little as $100 per month until the overpayment is repaid.

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    Learn more about Social Security Disability and Long Term Disability Insurance, as well as appealing denials and how an attorney can help. These resources will cover the basics: