Workers compensation is one benefit that is available to you when you suffer an injury on the job. You may also have other benefits available to you.
Sometimes, these other benefits pay money in addition to workers compensation. Other times, the benefits reduce or replace what workers compensation pay.
Short term disability is one of these other benefits that is available to people when they have been disabled as a result of an injury.
The question that often gets asked is whether someone who has a short-term disability insurance policy can receive short-term disability in addition to workers compensation. The answer to that question is it depends.
Short-term disability is a benefit that some people have either through an insurance policy they purchased on their own or through their employer. If you have short term disability coverage, it generally covers you for a disability that keeps you from working for a few weeks or a few months.
The exact coverage of short term disability will depend on the particular plan. If the benefit is funded by your employer, then it will probably be defined in your employee handbook. If it is an insurance policy, then the policy will lay out what benefits you will receive in certain situations.
Do I have short term disability coverage?
Not everyone has short term disability coverage. In Georgia, your employer is required to have workers compensation coverage if they have three or more employees.
But, Georgia law does not require employers to have short term disability coverage for their employees. Because of that, some people decide to purchase short or long term disability insurance on their own.
Despite Georgia law not requiring it, many employers do offer short term disability insurance. Some employer also provide short term disability benefits themselves without doing it through an insurance policy.
To determine if you have short term disability insurance through your employer, you should be able to talk to someone in your employer’s human resources department. They should be able to tell you whether you have these benefits.
Also, you can look at your paycheck to see if there is a deduction from each pay period for short term disability insurance. If there is, then you should have it. However, you may have short term disability insurance even if there is not a deduction on your paycheck.
How does short term disability interact with workers compensation?
Short term disability pays you benefits when you are disabled from working. When you suffer an injury at work that keeps you from working, workers compensation pay you benefits for that disability.
So, both of them pay you benefits when you are unable to work. But, you do not necessarily get paid by both insurance companies when you suffer a work-related injury.
Can I get short term disability benefits for a work related injury?
Maybe. It really depends on the particular language in the short term disability insurance policy.
Some short term disability policies have language that excludes coverage for work-related injuries completely. These types of policies may only pay you benefits if your injury is not work-related.
If your short term disability policy excludes workers compensation injuries, then it will be difficult for you to get short-term disability benefits under that contract if you have a work-related injury. But, you should still receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Now, most short term disability policies do not necessarily exclude work-related injuries. Instead, they usually provide a credit or offset that is taken when you receive workers compensation benefits.
What does this mean? It means that the short-term disability policy itself says that they will take a credit for certain other benefits that you receive. So, if you receive short term disability and workers compensation, your short term disability benefits will get reduced to take into account the workers compensation benefits you receive.
What happens when my short term disability benefits run out?
It depends. Many people who have short term disability insurance also have long term disability insurance. Many times, then the long term disability insurance is set up to kick in when the short term disability runs out.
If you have long term disability coverage, the benefit amounts may not necessarily be the same as your short term disability. The exact benefits will depend on the long term disability insurance policy.
If you do not have long term disability, what happens will depend on whether you also were able to get workers compensation to accept your case. If you were, you should still have workers compensation benefits come in.
This is one of the reasons you will want to pursue workers compensation for a work-related injury, even if you do have short term disability. One of the other important reasons is that workers compensation pays a number of benefits that short term disability does not such as permanent partial disability and medical benefits.
Can I get short term disability benefits if workers compensation denies my case?
Probably, but you need to be careful. Workers compensation insurance companies often deny injuries that they should accept. Because of that, you often need to request a hearing to fight the workers compensation denial.
Most short term disability insurance companies will pay you benefits while your workers compensation case is being denied. But, you and your doctor have to fill out forms to qualify for short term disability.
These forms often ask questions about whether your injury is work-related. You need to make sure that the forms are completed properly. If you or your doctor indicate on these forms that the injury is not work-related, those same forms probably will be used as evidence against you in your workers compensation case.