Most of the disabilities in the country result from injuries and illnesses incurred while at work. When someone is involved in a work accident that leaves them with an inability to work, they may likely face financial difficulties as a result. Not only have they suddenly got medical expenses to keep up with, they also now may not be earning wages because they are taking time off of work to recuperate. Houston residents may be aware they can qualify for some form of benefits, but unsure of which one. Workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability both provide financial assistance to those suffering from work related injuries, so what is the difference between the two?
First of all, workers’ compensation provides benefits in the form of cash and medical care for work-related illnesses and injuries. Generally, they cover all the necessary medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. Cash benefits eligibility requires a disability that exceeds that specific state’s waiting period, which can be between three and seven days or they must have a permanent disability. Cash benefits cease if the injured employee can return to work at the preinjury earnings level, but if he is unable to then he may be eligible for permanent disability benefits. The system often operates without contest.
Though injured workers can receive DI benefits, the scope is much narrower as it is only available to people who have a total disability that is supposed to last at least 12 months. In this sense, it is similar to the system of permanent benefits available under workers’ compensation. However, it also does not cover as wide a scope of injuries as workers’ compensation does.
Together, they both comprise the largest disability program in the country but the relationship between workers’ compensation and disability benefits is complex, with eligibility for each happening at different times. When a Houston resident has been involved in a work accident, he should consider consulting an experienced attorney to discuss his options.