Difference Between Short Term Disability vs. Workers Comp

Short Term Disability vs. Workers’ Comp: What’s the Difference?

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 4 minutes

Short Term Disability vs. Workers’ Comp: What’s the Difference?

Short Term Disability, or STD, and Workers’ Compensation, or WC, are similar benefits, as they both provide compensation for injuries. The main difference is that workers’ comp covers employees who get hurt at work, while short term disability is for injuries or illnesses that are not work related.

Questions that this article can answer about Short-Term Disability and Workers’ Compensation:

Short Term Disability Coverage

What Qualifies for Short-Term Disability?

Common examples of short term disability qualifying conditions are:

How Does Short Term Disability Work?

Employer Paid Short-Term Disability

The employer usually purchases short-term disability insurance and employees contribute toward the payment. If an employee ever needs to use their disability benefits, they may have to make it known to the company’s Human Resources, or HR, department. The company has no say whether the employee is entitled to or denied disability benefits, the insurance carrier makes this decision.

How Much Does Short-Term Disability Pay and How Long Does It Last?

STD, or Short-Term Disability, payments are about two-thirds of an employee’s normal salary. They are usually payable for about six months.

How Does Workers Comp Work?

Workers’ comp insurance protects workers from loss of wages and medical expenses caused by a work-related injury. While each state has specifics requirements regarding workers’ compensation, employees have the right to benefits if they are injured while performing the functions of his or her job.

How Much Does Workers Comp Pay?

Most workers’ comp insurance policies pay employees approximately two-thirds of their regular paycheck, and not their full salary. Workers Compensation also pays reimbursement for all medical bills and rehabilitation caused by the on-the-job injury.

What Pays More: Workers’ Comp or Short-Term Disability?

Choosing which benefit to apply for can be confusing. Generally, if you are hurt or get sick due to a condition on your job, you should apply for workers’ compensation benefits. If your claim is denied, then you can try to file for Short-Term Disability benefits. The most difficult situation for any injured employee is when both insurance companies deny the claim, then they point the responsibility at the other. This results in zero coverage for the worker, and they may want to consult an attorney who can fight on their behalf.

Can You Get Workers’ Comp and Short-Term Disability at the Same Time?

A common question is whether an employee can be denied disability benefits if they are also seeking workers’ comp benefits. The answer is yes. Standard STD insurance policies state that workers’ comp must handle salary reimbursement where work absence is due to work-related injuries. If an employee is approved for workers’ comp benefits, they are ineligible for disability benefits.

Workers’ Comp Exception

The exception, however, is if the workers’ comp claim is denied, the application for STD benefits will be considered. It is also important to note that while workers’ compensation is required, disability insurance is not. It falls under the category of employee “benefits.”

In some situations, an employer may encourage workers to file for short term benefits for an injury sustained at work. Reasons for this may be that the employer is not 100% clear on the differences between the two types of benefits, or they are trying to save themselves money. In the case of the latter, the employer will not be subject to increased premiums if an employee seeks benefits through their STD. If you or someone you know have experienced a situation where a company is insistent that a job injury be filed under STD insurance claim, consult with a lawyer who can help navigate the situation.

Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Workers’ compensation benefits are governed by a distinct set of rules and procedures, if you fail to follow these rules, you may lose your right to receive benefits under the law.

Consult a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to fight for the benefits you are entitled to. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 and one of our agents will connect you to an experienced attorney in 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free and confidential.

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we can assist you no matter when your accident occurs.

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