Workers’ Compensation

The Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Disability Insurance

Disability Insurance (DI) pays a weekly benefit when an injury or illness is NOT caused by or related to work. The DI benefits are paid for a temporary period of time only. Workers’ Compensation (WC) provides benefits for workers when their injury or illness arises out of or is caused by their work. WC may also pay medical bills and benefits for temporary or permanent disabilities.

If a worker is hurt at work, has an accumulative medical condition due to occupation, or an existing work related medical condition that has become aggravated the worker can file an DI claim, but usually cannot receive both WC and DI benefits for the same period of time except in limited situations. For example, DI benefits may be paid if the employer or employer’s WC insurance carrier denies or delays WC benefits. If the worker’s WC weekly benefit amount is less than the worker’s DI weekly benefit amount, the worker may be eligible to receive the difference. If DI does issue benefits while a WC case is pending, a lien will be filed to recover those benefits when the WC case is settled.

If it is unknown that an injury or illness is work-related, a physician/practitioner may be able to help determine the cause of the disabling condition. If a worker believes that a work-related disability occurred it must be reported to the employer and a physician/practitioner’s medical report must be submitted to the employer’s WC insurance company.

If an employee, employer, and/or employer’s WC insurance carrier disagree over issues regarding a WC claim contact the Department of Industrial Relation, Division of Workers’ Compensation for information about the WC appeal process and your right to file an appeal.

Information on SDI appeals.

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