The exemption does not apply to retirement plan benefits you receive based on your age, length of service, or prior contributions to the plan, even if you retired because of an occupational sickness or injury.
If you return to work after qualifying for workers' compensation, payments you continue to receive while assigned to light duties are taxable. Report these payments as wages on Line 7 of Form 1040 or Form 1040A, or on Line 1 of Form 1040EZ.
If your disability pension is paid under a statute that provides benefits only to employees with service-connected disabilities, part of it may be workers' compensation. That part is exempt from tax. The rest of your pension, based on years of service, is taxable as pension or annuity income. If you die, the part of your survivors' benefit that is a continuation of the workers' compensation is exempt from tax.
Refer to IRS Publication 525 Taxable and Nontaxable Income for additional information.
CAUTION! If part of your workers’ compensation reduces your social security or equivalent railroad retirement benefits received, that part is considered social security (or equivalent railroad retirement) benefits and may be taxable. For a discussion of the taxability of these benefits, see Other Income in IRS Publication 525.