23 Dec

Disability Benefits vs. Workers Compensation: A Brief Overview

While disability benefits and worker’s compensation may seem to be the same thing, there is a key difference that separates the two. Worker’s compensation is paid out by an employer when an employee suffers a work-related injury while disability benefits are gained when an employee pays into an insurance program. Both disability benefits and worker’s compensation are for the benefit of workers who have suffered injury.

Disability Benefits

If a worker becomes injured or ill and is unable to perform his or her job, disability benefits cover a portion of the worker’s pay. A worker is eligible for disability benefits because he or she is paying an insurance premium through an employer-sponsored benefit plan.

Worker’s Compensation

An injury or illness that occurs due to a worker’s occupation results in worker’s compensation that is paid out by their employer. The employer is responsible for covering medical bills and lost wages. For worker’s compensation, employees generally do not have a disability but just a temporary injury.

The Limitations of Disability Benefits or Worker’s Compensation

Disability Benefits and Worker’s Compensation function within the boundaries of certain parameters. A work-related injury that causes an employee to take off work can result in that employee receiving disability benefits. However, those disability benefits may only cover about 50 percent of the worker’s salary.

For worker’s compensation, the injury report and subsequent claim must be reported to the employer immediately, without fail. When an employee reports a work-related injury the employer must provide the option to file a worker’s compensation claim. Moreover, it’s the employer’s responsibility to arrange medical assistance through worker’s compensation insurance while disability benefits claims are covered through the insurance provider directly.

Florida’s Take on Disability Benefits and Worker’s Compensation

The State of Florida provides injured workers with temporary disability benefits to recover from a work-related injury or illness. While these benefits won’t kick in for the first week after the injury or illness, you may be compensated for that time if your injury keeps you from returning to work for more than 21 days. Florida’s temporary total disability benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage with a cap at $939 per week.

However, the more extreme the injury or illness, the more the worker may be eligible for up to 80% of their pre-injury wages. Florida places a legal minimum of $20 per week on this disability benefit. The limitations and details of temporary disability benefits are complex but the general goal is to provide injured workers with relief so they can live their lives and recover.

Florida also provides permanent disability benefits for injured workers. Regulated by the government and coordination with a medical doctor, injured workers are assigned a rating that is used to calculate how long permanent disability benefits will last. An injury that prevents any type of work is sometimes eligible for permanent total disability benefits that will continue until the age of 75 years old or until the injured worker qualifies for Social Security benefits. Severe injuries include limb amputation or brain injury.

For Florida’s worker’s compensation, injured workers can receive medical benefits, including travel costs to and from the doctor, rehabilitation, vocational counseling, new employment aid help, and death benefits. Generally, worker’s compensation benefits only pay a portion of your lost wages, and while you can’t file for compensation for pain and suffering, you do receive worker’s compensation benefits quickly without having to file a lawsuit.

However, in some situations, it may be better to pursue a lawsuit to recover appropriate compensation for the extent of your injury, pain, and suffering. Worker’s compensation is a convenient option, but it may not provide you with all the benefits that you deserve.
Navigating the legal system is difficult and complex, especially when different injuries qualify for different types of aid. If you’re unsure what your injury may be eligible for, it’s important that you seek the input of a legal professional. Speak with a lawyer today to determine what your rights be under the law by emailing