Workers’ comp vs. disability: Here’s what you need to know
Workers' Compensation - December 14, 2023
Workers’ compensation and disability insurance are not the same thing. With a clear understanding of workers’ comp vs. disability, you can get the coverage you need if you are hurt at work. Plus, you can partner with a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney to help you pursue compensation from anyone responsible for your on-the-job injury.
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates makes connecting with a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer easy. We can also discuss all aspects of disability vs. workers’ comp with you. To get started, please reach out to us.
How workers’ comp works in Illinois
Most employers in Illinois must provide their workers with workers’ compensation insurance. Estimates suggest that 91% of Illinois workers are covered under the state’s Workers’ Comp Act, according to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC). Employers that may be exempt from this act include:
- Sole proprietors
- Business partners
- Corporate officers
- Members of limited liability companies
If a company doesn’t comply with Illinois’ workers’ comp requirements, it can be fined up to $500 daily if it’s out of compliance. On top of that, a non-compliant employer can receive a minimum fine of $10,000. If a company decides not to pay a penalty for not complying with workers’ comp requirements, the business’ corporate officers can be held accountable.
In 2006, IWCC collected over $7 million in fines from employers that chose not to provide workers’ comp benefits. If you get hurt at work in Illinois, find out if you can submit a workers’ comp request. If your employer disputes your request, you can partner with an attorney who has helped past clients achieve outstanding case results in workers’ comp lawsuits.
Disability insurance comes from Social Security
Social Security disability programs are available that give you access to benefits if you’re dealing with a disability, have been employed, and contributed to the Social Security fund via wage deductions. The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) can inform you if you’re eligible for this coverage. Based on medical evidence, this department determines if your work injury will impact you for 12 months or longer.
Under the federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, you get monthly payments if you’re coping with a disability, have worked but can’t currently do so, and paid Social Security taxes. To qualify for this program, you must meet criteria based on how long you’ve worked. Also, Social Security considers these five questions to determine if you’re dealing with a disability:
- Are you working at a level of substantial gainful activity?
- Is your condition severe?
- Is your condition on Social Security’s list of impairments?
- Can you do the same work you did before?
- Can you do any other type of work?
At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, we can answer frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation, disability insurance, and many other legal topics. We can also help you submit a claim for workers’ comp or short- or long-term disability benefits or dispute any rejected benefits requests. For more information, please get in touch with us.
A closer look at workers’ comp vs. short-term disability
Workers’ compensation coverage protects you if you get hurt due to an on-the-job accident. Comparatively, short-term disability covers an injury or illness unrelated to your job. To understand the difference between the two, let’s consider two examples.
You slip, trip, and fall at work and break your arm. In this instance, you have suffered a personal injury at work. You can submit a workers’ comp claim if your injury prevents you from doing your job in the foreseeable future.
Or, you slip, trip, and fall while shopping at the mall and break your arm. In this situation, you’re not eligible for workers’ comp if you can’t work due to your injury. Yet, you may be able to take advantage of short-term disability coverage, which offers financial protection while you recover from your injury.
Which works better for you: Long-term disability vs. workers’ comp?
If you suffer a work injury that prevents you from returning to your job, you may qualify for long-term disability benefits. You may receive these benefits from your employer’s insurance company. How much you receive depends on the percentage of average wages earned before your injury happened.
To request long-term disability, you must be able to show your employer that your injury will prevent you from returning to your job for an extended period. Some employers only provide long-term disability benefits for up to two years after your injury. If you can’t work after this time, you may be solely responsible for any medical costs that you face.
If you want legal help with a long-term disability or workers’ comp claim, the team at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is here. We are committed to helping you get the benefits that you deserve. To learn more or request a free consultation, please contact us online or at (800) 985-1819.