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What Is the Difference Between Temporary Disability and Workers’ Compensation?

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After an on-the-job injury, you may feel overwhelmed with all of the forms and employee benefits information. Even the best human resources department may not be able to help you fully understand everything. One of the questions many employees have after an accident is about the difference between temporary disability and workers’ compensation.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Workers’ compensation benefits are specifically for work-related injuries and illness. For instance, if you are diagnosed with cancer or another illness not directly linked to a workplace hazard, you will not be able to claim workers’ compensation to cover your costs associated with illness. However, if you were exposed to a known carcinogen during your regular work duties, you may be able to claim workers’ compensation.

Under most workers’ compensation benefits policies, you are entitled to a number of different benefits, including up to $10,000 of treatment during the time in which your claim is being considered, disability benefits through workers’ compensation, and other medical care costs. If you file for workers’ compensation, your employer is required to provide you with the necessary paperwork within 24 hours of your injury being reported. You must file the claim within a year to receive benefits. If you do not receive the necessary paperwork, ask your employer or claims administrator to receive the necessary forms.

Temporary Disability Benefits

Temporary disability insurance provided by your employer covers any physical malady that prevents you from working. Depending on your company’s policy, these benefits may cover anything from rehabilitation programs for mental illness or drug dependency to car accident injuries and other illnesses that will prevent you from working your normal schedule. Your claim for benefits will be reviewed by your human resources department to determine whether or not your infirmity is covered under the policy.

An absence from work for a week or so may be required for you to apply for temporary disability benefits, and any absence exceeding 6 months may require an application for long-term disability. Your benefits for short-term disability may pay part of your normal wages or all, depending on your company. You are also entitled to receive up to $10,000 of medical treatment while your claim is being processed, similar to a workers’ compensation policy.

Can I File for Both Temporary Disability and Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

You can file for both if you are unsure about the nature of your infirmity. It is always better to file for multiple relief policies than to count on one to provide you with the compensation you need. File for workers’ compensation first. If you are denied, you may still be eligible for coverage under a temporary disability policy. In some cases, you may be able to receive temporary disability while your workers’ compensation case is being evaluated or disputed. If you ultimately receive workers’ compensation, you may be required to pay back the amount granted through temporary disability.

Who Should I Talk to About Specific Questions?

Your human resources department is always a good resource for company specific policies. Through the department, you should have access to any information and documentation you need to pursue a case. You can also consult your physician for more information about your injury and how it may be evaluated in a workers’ compensation case.

In the event you need to dispute a settlement or are unsure about your rights, consider talking to a local workers’ compensation attorney. The team of attorneys at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo can help you with every aspect of your case, from evaluating your options for compensation to negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf. Let us know how we can help you by contacting us for a free consultation today.