Workers' Compensation

Kansas: Senior Citizen’s Comp Benefits Not Subject to Offset by Federal Social Security Benefits

Kansas, like most other states, requires that an employee's workers’ compensation award be set-off by any retirement benefits he or she receives from a retirement benefits program, including benefits received under the federal Social Security Act, less any amount the employee contributed to that plan [K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 44-501(h)].  The primary purpose of the setoff is to eliminate any duplication of wage-loss benefits by different programs. A Kansas appellate court has held, however, that following the passage of the Senior Citizens' Freedom to Work Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-182 [see 42 U.S.C. §§ 402-403 (2006)], which generally allows a retired worker aged 65 or older to receive Social Security benefits and continue to work without penalty or reduction in benefits, a qualifying injured employee’s workers’ compensation benefits should not be subjected to offset.  Citing a line of cases that in turn had quoted Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the appellate court reversed a decision of an ALJ and the state’s Workers’ Compensation Board that had ordered the offset.  The employee’s two sets of benefits--that is, Social Security benefits and workers compensation benefits--were not duplicative because the employee was entitled to both revenue streams prior to his injury and should continue to be entitled to both streams after.  The court concluded that it would be “counterintuitive” to apply a statute that is intended "to eliminate any duplication of wage-loss benefits by different programs" in a case in which one program's benefits accrued regardless of whether any other income existed.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Hoesli v. Triplett, Inc., 2014 Kan. App. LEXIS 12 (Mar. 7, 2014) [2014 Kan. App. LEXIS 12 (Mar. 7, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 157.03 [157.03]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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