Based on statute, any special disability retirement benefits that an injured worker receives will be offset from any workers’ compensation award that may be received. However, if the injured worker files for workers’ compensation benefits prior to filing for special disability retirement, and receives compensation from the Workers’ Compensation Commission, there is a strong argument that any benefits received before the filing of the application with SRPS will not be offset.
Furthermore, there is always a possibility that an injured worker will be denied benefits by the State Retirement and Pension System (SRPS). (See also: here and here.) If that happens, then the injured worker will still receive your workers’ compensation award and there will be no issues regarding setoffs with SRPS. In addition, if an injured worker is awarded ordinary disability benefits and not special disability benefits from SRPS, the ordinary disability benefits will not be offset by the amount of workers’ compensation benefits that are received.
Another possible advantage of filing for workers’ compensation benefits before filing for special disability retirement benefits is that you will most likely receive workers’ compensation benefits prior to receiving special disability retirement benefits. Generally, the Workers’ Compensation Commission runs more efficiently than SRPS.
In addition, when an injured worker receives compensation based on workers’ compensation, the worker must pay attorneys’ fees if represented by counsel. The attorneys’ fees for workers’ compensation are determined by statute and an injured worker should not pay the attorney any money at the beginning of the case. You would not have to pay the Firm attorneys’ fees up front in your workers’ compensation case. Any attorneys’ fees are taken from any award received from the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Those fees that are paid would not be considered in any offsets against special disability retirement benefits.
A Maryland Workers Comp Attorney is not required when dealing with the complicated retirement issues – BUT IT IS Strongly Recommended! This area of law is complex, even for many comp practitioners.