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The Difference Between Workers’ Comp and Disability Benefits


Workers’ compensation and disability benefits are two types of insurance programs that provide financial support to individuals who cannot work due to injury or illness.

The United States Government has implemented policies to protect the worker’s health, safety, and individual rights in the workplace. The two most standout policies in that specific regard are workers’ compensation insurance and disability benefits. While both policies protect workers and their fundamental rights, they’re different policies for different groups of people.

Worker’s compensation insurance provides financial compensation for expenses resulting from work-related injuries. Disability benefits, on the other hand, offset lost wages should you suffer debilitating injuries or conditions that render you disabled.

What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Workers’ compensation is a mandatory insurance policy that provides medical and wage benefits for work-related injuries and illnesses. Examples of work-related injuries include slip-and-falls, ankle injuries, and neck strains. Workers are also eligible for worker’s comp if they suffer work-related illnesses like dermatitis, hearing loss, and asthma. An insurance company pays the insurance through the employer.

What Are Disability Benefits?

Disability Benefits are insurance that the worker pays to cover expenses in case of a debilitating injury or illness. A portion of your paycheck is paid to the insurer for your disability benefits. The insurance will compensate you for medical expenses and lost wages should you become disabled.

Differences Between Workers Comp and Disability Benefits

Workers’ comp and disability benefits are distinct but interrelated policies. The differences between workers’ comp and disability benefits include:

  • Eligibility – All workers are eligible for workers’ comp insurance but will only be compensated if they demonstrate that the injury or illness was work-related. However, anyone with a qualifying disability is eligible for disability benefits. The disability doesn’t have to occur during your tenure at work, but it must preclude your ability to work efficiently.
  • Insurance Funding – As mentioned, state governments require all employers to cover their workers under a recognized workers’ compensation insurance policy. This means the employer is the primary funding source for the particular policy. Disability benefits differ since the affected individual, government programs, or private organizations can fund them.
  • Duration of Coverage – Workers’ compensation is temporary because it only covers workers until they recover completely. Coverage stops once the wither recuperates and gets back to work. Disability benefits, on the other hand, last as long as the disability exists. It typically stops once the individual returns to work or attains retirement age.
  • What They Cover – Workers’ comp insurance limits its coverage to workplace injuries and illnesses. Disability benefits, on the other hand, cover a broad range of disabilities, including those unrelated to work. Workers can pursue both workers’ comp and disability benefits if applicable.

Leave Your Workers’ Comp to the Pros

The grueling process of pursuing a workers’ comp claim can be too much. That’s why the attorneys at The Law Office of James M. Hoffman will work tirelessly to ensure your workers’ comp and disability benefits sail through without a hitch. Contact The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann today, and we’ll get started on your claim immediately.

Updated: June 26, 2023
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