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The Difference Between Workers' Comp and Disability Benefits

If you suffer a work-related injury, two main programs can help you. The two systems are workers' compensation and disability benefits. They both provide money to help cover your medical bills and living expenses. You may be entitled to various types of financial support, such as workers' compensation, state disability benefits, and Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). Nevertheless, they are not the same and are used in different situations. Injured workers should know the difference.

Learn the key differences between workers' comp and disability benefits below.

The Difference Between Worker's Compensation and Disability Benefits: Overview

Imagine you are at work and get a workplace injury. Examples of injuries could be slipping on a wet floor and breaking your foot or hurting your back by lifting heavy boxes. This is where workers' compensation comes in. If you file a workers' compensation insurance claim, your employer's insurance can help pay your medical expenses. They will also pay part of your wages while healing. Workers' compensation benefits provide an alternative to suing your employer. As required by all states except Texas, employers must carry workers' compensation.

On the other hand, disability benefits are for long-term situations. If you have a medical condition that makes it impossible to work for a long time, or maybe even ever again, that is when you apply for disability benefits. There are two types: short-term and long-term disability. Short-term disability benefits can help if your impairment is expected to last a few months. Long-term disability can provide benefits for several years or even until retirement age. Disability benefits cover a portion of your salary but will not cover medical costs. That is where health insurance comes in.

State disability benefits provide weekly benefits if you are injured away from work but cannot work at your regular or customary job. The key difference is that workers' compensation covers you for injuries for which the employer would be liable. At the same time, disability benefits are not paid for through your employer but still help compensate for lost income. However, you may be eligible for state disability benefits when you are entitled to receive workers' compensation. You can get state disability benefits that are higher than the workers' compensation benefits.

Suppose your employer or insurance company is disputing whether you should receive workers' comp. In that case, the state can provide you with state disability until the dispute is resolved. Then, the state will ask for your money back from the employer or its insurance company if you are successful in your workers' comp case.

Workers' compensation temporary disability benefits are paid until your condition becomes permanent and stationary. After that, you may be entitled to permanent disability benefits and lifetime medical care. State disability benefits are payable for only 52 weeks.

May I Receive Federal Social Security Disability Benefits and Workers' Compensation or State Disability Benefits Simultaneously?

Yes, you can receive Social Security disability benefits and workers' comp or state disability benefits simultaneously. If you are disabled, expect to be disabled for at least a year and a day, or have a terminal illness and have paid the necessary funds, they can withdraw both. However, the Social Security Administration may lower your disability benefits. They will do this if your workers' comp benefits and disability benefits are more than a certain amount.

May I Receive Unemployment Benefits and Workers' Compensation Benefits at the Same Time?

Not normally. The rules can be complicated. Generally, you cannot get unemployment benefits simultaneously as workers' compensation benefits. Unemployment benefits are for people who can work but cannot find a job. Remember, you must be ready, able, and available for work to collect unemployment. The maximum benefit is payable for up to six months. Workers' comp benefits are for people who cannot work because of a job-related injury.

Need Help With Workers' Comp or Disability Benefits? Talk to an Attorney

If you suffer from a work injury and cannot work, it is essential to get the right help. Injured employees should seek medical treatment right away. Then, they should talk to a lawyer. A workers' compensation attorney can help you understand your rights. They can help you file a workers' comp claim. They can also negotiate with your insurance carrier if needed. Attorneys will help you get the medical benefits you deserve in your workers' compensation case.

Alternatively, a workers' compensation lawyer can help if your employer denies your claim, or they can help if you have a workers' compensation claim that goes to court. They can also help you understand your state's particular workers' compensation laws. If you have a medical condition that makes it impossible to work for a long time, you might need legal advice.

This whole process can be challenging to navigate, mainly if you are still dealing with the aftermath of a work-related injury or illness. Consider contacting a legal professional to receive the compensation you are entitled to.

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