Can you collect workers’ comp and short-term disability at the same time?

If you suffer injuries and cannot work, there are different types of benefits that might be available to you. First, if you suffered a work =-related injury, you should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits for your medical care and wage replacement while you cannot work. If you have an injury that will keep you out of work for several months, you might be eligible for short-term disability benefits from an insurance policy.

The way these benefits apply or interact following an injury will vary depending on your situation. If you have questions about these benefits, seek advice from a workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure you can receive maximum benefits.

Workers’ Compensation

These benefits are provided by an employer’s workers’ comp insurance company after an employee suffers a work-related injury or illness. To qualify for these benefits, you only need to prove that you have an injury or illness that stemmed from the course of your employment. These benefits cover:

  • Partial wage replacement if you need time off work due to your injuries
  • The costs of medical care

Many people need a few weeks or months off work to recover, and workers’ compensation benefits provide support during this time.

Short-Term Disability

Short-term disability benefits come from disability insurance coverage, which you might have through your employer’s group plan or a private individual plan that you purchased. You need to prove that you have a disability (as defined by your policy) that will prevent you from working for a limited time – usually three, six, or 12 months. Some short-term disability policies might provide coverage up to two years, but this depends on the policy language. There is no need to prove the disability was work-related, as this coverage applies for non-work injuries and illnesses, as well.

Can You Receive Both?

If you cannot work due to a job-related injury, you would technically qualify for both workers’ comp and short-term disability. However, do not expect to receive double benefits. This is because one type of benefit will likely be offset by another type of benefit.

For example, if you qualify for a certain amount of short-term disability benefits, and your short-term coverage provider learns you are also receiving workers’ compensation, the short-term disability insurer will likely reduce your benefits. For example:

  • You are entitled to $1,100 per week for short-term disability
  • You start receiving workers’ compensation benefits of $500 per week
  • Your short-term disability will likely be reduced by $500
  • You will receive $600 from short-term disability and $500 from workers’ comp per week

Whether it is best to file claims for both types of benefits will vary depending on your situation. You should discuss this with your workers’ compensation lawyer. If your workers’ compensation insurer tries to deny your benefits because you are receiving other benefits, an attorney can advise you of the best options to appeal. You want to make sure you are receiving as much financial support as possible.