If a person gets hurt or sick while he or she is working, he or she may be able to get workers' compensation benefits. These benefits are designed to be like an insurance program for workers. The employer pays into the program, and if a worker suffers an injury while on the job, the benefits will cover his or her medical expenses and some portion of his or her lost wages. Under most circumstances, in exchange for taking the benefits, injured workers give up their rights to file a workplace injury lawsuit against their employers.
Under Texas law, private employers can choose whether they participate in the state's workers' compensation program. But unlike workers' compensation, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits cover workers in Texas regardless of whether their injuries occur on the job or at some other place. If a worker suffers an injury that prevents him or her from working, no matter where that injury occurred, the SSD program will provide the injured worker with benefits, assuming the worker meets all of the benefits requirements.
Both workers' compensation and SSD benefits for injured workers are designed to assist injured workers when their injuries prevent them from working. The main difference is that workers' compensation kicks in when the employer would be liable for the injury-related expenses; for example, when a person gets injured by a piece of equipment at a job site. By contrast, SSD benefits do not go through the employer, and thus the benefits cover workers even when their injuries resulted from non-work activities.
Under some circumstances, a person might be eligible for both workers' compensation and SSD benefits. When a person in the Houston area cannot work due to an injury, he or she may want to look into all legal options for getting help. A Social Security attorney can evaluate an injured worker's claims and help ensure that the worker has a chance at getting benefits to which he or she is entitled.
Source: FindLaw, "The Difference Between Workers' Comp and Disability Benefits," Accessed on Aug. 4, 2015