Q Can you explain the difference between workers’ compensation and short term disability?
Workplace injuries can cause a lot of stress and confusion. Most people are unfamiliar with the workers’ compensation system, and find themselves navigating the process while juggling a painful recovery.
On top of the confusion caused by workers’ compensation, many people are confused about the role that short term disability plays (or doesn’t play) following their injury. The most basic way to think about the two benefits is:
- Workers’ compensation benefits are reserved for employees who are hurt while performing the duties of their job;
- Short term disability benefits are used for injuries that occur outside the workplace.
Of course, there are several other important things you should know about the differences between these two benefits. Workers’ compensation is insurance that your employer pays for, and is meant to provide medical and lost wage benefits to injured workers. Medical benefits, especially in the event of a serious injury that requires long-term care and therapy, are extraordinarily important for individuals who have been hurt on the job.
Short term disability insurance, on the other hand, is insurance coverage that workers pay for. Typically a small amount of money is taken out of each paycheck, and offers individuals who have been hurt outside of work a percentage of their salary while they are unable to work due to their injury. There are no medical benefits associated with short term disability—your own health insurance will need to cover your injury-related expenses.
If You Have Been Hurt on the Job, Consult With a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Generally speaking, if your injury occurred on the job, it is in your best interest to pursue workers’ compensation coverage. You will ultimately receive more comprehensive benefits for the duration of your disability, which should be your first concern. If you have been hurt at work and your employer claims that it is a short term disability issue, speak to my firm immediately to ensure that your legal rights are protected.