Work injury and occupational illness can make a person miss work and lose wages. After getting into a workplace accident, you might be worried about making ends meet or paying treatment bills. If you are in a similar situation, you may choose to file for a short-term disability or workers compensation claim.
But deciding which option to choose can be tricky. You might need help from a qualified workers’ compensation attorney to make an informed decision.
What is Short Term Disability and How is it Different from Workers Compensation?
The employers offer short-term disability to the workers who have sustained non-work-related injuries or have been diagnosed with an occupational disease. Short-term disability is a voluntary benefit provided by employers. The employer may choose to pay the full benefit or a part of it.
The short-term disability allows an employee who has suffered injuries out of work to receive benefits, medical treatment, and damage recovery. Short-term disability benefits are provided by the insurance company included in the company’s employee benefit plans.
On the other hand, workers’ compensation benefits are provided to those who have sustained injuries at the workplace or have been diagnosed with an occupational disease. Another critical difference between STD and workers’ compensation is that the latter is not a voluntary benefit. Any employer with three or more employees working for them must provide workers’ compensation coverage.
Besides this, various factors differentiate a workers’ compensation from STD.
Compared to the workers’ compensation benefits, the STD covers a small percentage of a worker’s average income.
Short-term disability benefits may be taxable depending on the employee’s benefit plans. Workers’ compensation benefits are not subjected to any taxes.
If you have been awarded a short-term disability benefit, you will be responsible for looking after your healthcare costs. In workers’ compensation benefits, you will not be responsible for such expenses.
Under the workers’ compensation law, you may be awarded 500 weeks of wage loss benefits. If you have sustained permanent disability due to your work injuries, you may be granted more than 500 weeks of wage loss benefits. Under STD, one is entitled to only a few weeks of wage loss benefits.
Compared to STD, it’s easier to prosecute workers’ compensation denials. The WCC has the authority to resolve disputes related to workers’ compensation claims.
Your top personal injury lawyer may agree that workers’ compensation benefits are better than short-term disability benefits. However, not all employees can file for workers’ comp. Even if an employee is entitled to workers’ compensation, they might have to litigate their claims.
Can an injured employee receive both short-term disability and workers comp?
Although an employee is not entitled to receive workers’ compensation and STD benefits simultaneously, there are some exceptions to this rule.
You should consult a workers’ compensation lawyer to review your STD policy if you think your injuries qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If you have suffered work-related injuries or your physician has diagnosed illness caused due to your work environment, you should apply for workers’ comp benefits.