Social Security and Car Accidents

No one wants to have a car accident, but if you receive federal disability benefits, you might have more hurdles than most.  If you have been approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will have to be mindful of the resource limit of $2,000 and may need a special needs trust to hold your settlement proceeds so that your ongoing benefits aren’t disrupted. 

If you have been approved for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), your resources aren’t limited, but you, and SSI recipients, could still confront subrogation and what is sometimes called the “Medicare Super Lien.”  Both of these are pretty tricky problems, but the Social Security attorney team at Keller & Keller can help you navigate them.

older person with hurt neck after accident

Subrogation refers to an insurance company’s right to be reimbursed for money it pays out when that money should have been paid by another person or company.  If you’ve been in a car accident, our Indianapolis injury lawyer explains, there are usually at least two insurance companies involved: your own automobile insurance and your own health insurance

However, there can be many more insurance companies involved representing various levels of responsibility and with various limits of coverage.  Plus, not every insurance company that asserts a right of subrogation is actually entitled to it.  Untangling these obligations is complicated, and making missteps can be very expensive.

The Medicare Super Lien refers to Medicare’s power to recover its expenditures from nearly anyone who has received funds from the person or company who should have paid Medicare.  Under federal law, Medicare will not pay for treatment that could “reasonably be expected to be made under a workers’ compensation plan, an automobile or liability insurance policy or plan (including a self-insured plan), or under no-fault insurance.” 

Also, Medicare is entitled to notice of the existence of a legal claim against someone who might be required to pay for treatment.  Finally, Medicare is entitled to recover any payments it made that should have been made by another party.  Because of this extensive power, it is important to properly address any expenses paid by Medicare for injuries sustained in a car accident.

James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller
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