What Are the Differences Between Workers’ Comp and Disability?

by NPHM | October 5th, 2020

You and your loved ones rely on your paychecks for just about every aspect of life, from food and shelter to clothing and entertainment. But earning those paychecks requires being capable of working, and certain injuries and illnesses can sideline you from your job for weeks, months, or even years.

There are two types of safety nets for workers who can’t do their jobs and earn a living: workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability. Both are designed to provide a replacement income that’s calculated as a percentage of the income you earned when you were healthy, but there are major differences between the two programs.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation—also referred to as workers’ comp or workman’s comp—is paid via your employer’s insurance policy. All businesses in Ohio with at least one employee must purchase and maintain valid workers’ compensation insurance for their workers.

It covers expenses associated with injuries and illnesses that make it difficult or impossible to work, including medical expenses, lost wages, ongoing care costs, and even funeral expenses. You are only eligible to receive workers’ compensation if your injury or illness occurred at work or during an activity that was in the scope of your employment.

How Do You Get Workers’ Compensation?

To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must tell your employer about your on-the-job injury or illness and then file a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OBWC). Note that the OBWC is responsible for ensuring that businesses aren’t subject to fraudulent claims, so that means that many otherwise valid claims are initially denied.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers help injured and sick workers get the benefits they deserve. We assist with both initial claims and appeals if claims are denied, and we know what it takes to get our clients the results they deserve.

What is Social Security Disability?

Like workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability (SSD) is designed to replace lost paychecks. However, it’s paid by the Social Security Administration (SSA)—an arm of the U.S. federal government. All workers pay into the SSA when they earn paychecks. For most workers, that money is paid back to them when they retire, but others may tap into it earlier when they suffer a disabling injury or illness.

Unlike workers’ compensation, SSD benefits aren’t limited to workers whose health problems occurred while at work. That means workers who develop chronic or acute illnesses and diseases may be covered, as well as those who suffer serious injuries in auto accidents, sporting accidents, slips and falls, and more.

How Do You Get Social Security Disability?

As with workers’ compensation, people who need SSD benefits must apply to receive them. But instead of applying with the state of Ohio, they instead apply with the SSA. You can apply for benefits in-person at a local SSA office or online.

It’s important to note that just like the OBWC, the SSA also heavily scrutinizes applications to reduce fraud and the overall strain on the agency’s finances. That means that similar to workers’ compensation benefits, SSD benefits are often denied to people who are deserving of them. Our attorneys also have many years of experience fighting for sick and injured workers to get SSD benefits, and we’re ready to help you get the money you’re owed.

Questions About Which Benefits You’re Eligible For? We’re Here to Help.

If you suffered an injury or illness that makes you unable to work, you may be wondering which benefit is right for you. It can be difficult to determine if your health problem was completely unrelated to work, partially related, and whether you have two different problems that are compounding to keep you off the job.

In addition, you may be wondering whether you’re eligible to receive both types of benefits at the same time, and if doing so is the right move for you and your loved ones. When you call Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we’ll reviews the facts of your claim and help you understand exactly where you stand, what your options are, and which path you should take to get the best possible results. Contact us today for a free consultation.