Sustaining an injury or getting ill at work doesn’t only take a toll on your health. It may affect your ability to work for a longer or shorter time span. Fortunately, you might be eligible for a number of benefits according to the law. Your first priority is to get the necessary medical help, take some time to recover and get compensated.
However, you might not be fully aware of the differences between workers’ compensation and disability insurance. There are many common questions that injured workers’ might pose when they file for short-term or long-term disability benefits.
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What qualifies for short-term disability in California?
There are several criteria that you need to fulfill in order to qualify for short-term disability:
- Inability to perform your regular or customary work duties for at least 8 days.
- Have lost income due to the condition.
- Being an employee or actively applying for work at the time your disability starts.
- Earning a minimum of $300 from which State Disability Insurance (SDI) is deducted during your base period.
How are temporary total disability benefits calculated?
Payments for Temporary total disability (TTD) usually comprise 66% (two-thirds) of your regular wages that you were earning before the injury. Take this example: if the gross weekly wages you normally earn are $300, your weekly TTD payments would be $200. Keep in mind that you can’t receive more than the maximum disability payment set by law.
How are temporary partial disability benefits calculated?
By the same token, temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits are determined by multiplying your average weekly wages with a higher percentage (80%) minus gross wages that you earn working light duty.
Can you receive state disability and workers’ comp benefits at the same time?
This might confuse you, but the answer is positive. It is possible to apply for disability insurance and workers’ comp claim, but you can’t be paid for both types of benefits for the same period of time. There are certain exceptions, so it’s best to consult a specialized disability or work comp attorney before filing a claim.
A related question can be about social security disability and disability benefits, and the answer is positive as well. However, social security benefits might reduce the amount you are due for disability insurance.
Who decides if I can receive temporary disability benefits?
Whether you apply for temporary or long-term disability benefits, for total or partial disability, the final decision is on your Social Security office. They will review your case and see whether you’re eligible and fulfill the requirements. They will then forward your application to the Bureau of Disability Determination. This office will make the final decision and inform you about the legal status of your disability.
When do temporary disability benefits end?
The point of monetary compensation is to help you get back on your feet. As with any other type of benefits, temporary disability payments come to an end after a defined period of time. Your healthcare provider will prescribe the necessary recovery period, which can be up to 26 weeks in total. Your chosen doctor will determine whether you have reached a satisfactory level of improvement, also known as maximum medical improvement status (MMI).
Since you’re fully recovered and ready to get back to work, the payments stop. If you’re unable to return to your previous position, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. If in doubt that you’re not being compensated in the appropriate way, or that your leave was insufficient, you may need to seek legal counsel with a specialized disability attorney.