Even though you have sustained a work-related injury, your employer may suggest that you apply for disability benefits (sickness and accident/short-term disability) or unemployment benefits (if your physician has placed work restrictions on you instead of applying for workers’ compensation benefits). While this course of action would benefit your employer, it is not in your best interest. Workers’ compensation benefits are better than other benefits for many reasons:
- Workers’ Compensation benefits are tax fee–whereas disability and unemployment benefits are subject to income tax.
- Workers’ Compensation benefits are usually much higher than other benefits.
- Workers’ Compensation benefits last much longer than other benefits. Both short-term and unemployment benefits usually are only paid for a maximum of 26 weeks, and in some cases less.
- Workers’ Compensation benefits continue to be paid at a partial rate after you return to work, if you return to work at a lower pay rate because of your injury. Disability coverage may not provide for partial payments after you return to work.
- Workers’ Compensation pays for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses for the work-related injury or disease, with no limitation and no deductible. Medical bill payments under group health plans are limited; in most cases you have a deductible and will have to pay those medical expenses not covered by your group plan.
If your employer denies your workers’ compensation claim, you may apply for other benefits, including medical benefits which may be available to you. The receipt of those benefits will not prevent you from filing a workers’ compensation claim. It is important, however, when completing the application for benefits that you attach a copy of the Notice of Denial, and you should indicate on any paperwork that the injury is work-related, or leave that question blank.
Read more about workers’ compensation.