It is easy to conflate disability with workers' compensation. Both are designed to provide benefits in the event of an injury. Both are trying to protect workers and their families from the devastating change that losing a primary income can bring. However, there are key differences between the two systems that prevent them from providing overlapping benefits. This article will explore the differences between the two systems so that you don't waste valuable time and effort applying for the wrong benefits.
Workers' compensation benefits are provided if you are injured on the job, like on a construction site. Conversely, state disability benefits are provided if you are injured outside of work. This can be a fine line, for example, if you are on break or on your way to work or between job-sites. It is in these gray areas that speaking with a professional can clear up the confusion.
Additionally, workers' compensation usually only covers injuries that are typical of working in that industry. For example, falling or crushing injuries on a construction site. However, you can receive overlapping benefits if, for example, your employer's insurance company disputes paying out your claim or if your workers' compensation is too low. So you may want to apply to both systems, just in case.
Finally, workers' compensation is meant to be temporary. It pays for your bills until you are healed and able to return to work. Whereas federal SSDI, or state disability payments, can go for much longer, sometimes even for years. So, it is possible to exhaust your workers' compensation but not your disability benefits. However, it is important to note that states cap payments at 52 weeks.
If you were injured and are unable to work, then you may want to sit down with a lawyer. Navigating these various compensation systems can be confusing and complicated. Speaking with a professional can help ease the stress and make sense of the arcane rules that underpin these systems. Don't lose out on your benefits because you weren't adequately prepared; take the time to learn your rights so you can make sure they are enforced.