Scranton NEPA Work Injury Lawyers- Workers Compensation and Social Security Claims

Date: May 21, 2012

Question: I sprained my knee at work and I’m receiving workers compensation benefits. My knee injury limits me to light duty work. I then applied for Social Security Disability benefits based not only on my knee problem, but also on some other health issues I have (Diabetes, a herniated disc in my low back from a car accident years ago, and emphysema). I had a hearing on the Social Security claim and I was awarded disability benefits. The Social Security judge found that I’m disabled as a result of the herniated disc, the diabetes and the emphysema. He didn’t mention my knee in his decision. The comp carrier has now filed a petition to stop my comp benefits stating that I “removed myself from the workforce”. Can they do that? J.C., address withheld

Answer: Yes, they can. In a case like yours, the court/judge will consider the totality of the circumstances in analyzing the question of whether you voluntarily removed yourself from the workforce. Your work injury limits you to light duty work but does not totally disable you. You were found disbaled based upon conditions that are unrelated to your work injury. Since you were awarded Social Security disability benefits based on your inability to engage in substantial gainful activity and because your work injury did not prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity, it will likly be held that you voluntarily withdrew from the workforce.

If you’ve suffered a work injury or if you have questions about a Social Security claim, contact me at or call (570) 347-1011 for a free consultation.



Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.