Planning a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Serious, debilitating, and/or long-term illness or injury sustained in the workplace can significantly affect your way of life. Not only will you be forced to stop working and lose income, you will also most likely need special medical treatment or equipment. The financial burden of such a disability can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are both private and public benefits you may be able to secure to help you and your family make ends meet.
Workers’ compensation insurance is primarily undertaken by private insurance companies, and the terms and conditions are laid out in the policy in case of a claim. Typically, a workers’ compensation claim can be settled in the form of a lump sum (the amount determined by the type and extent of injury as laid out in the policy) or spread out indefinitely depending on what the doctor says or until you decide to settle the claim. Deciding on one or the other will depend on the nature of the illness or injury. If the doctor says that you are in for the long-haul, you might not want to settle as you will need continued support throughout the duration of your illness or disability.
Social Security Disability Insurance
This is another option that you may want to think about if you anticipate long-term disability of more than 12 months. To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you will have to be unable to do any type of work at all. Combined, your workers’ comp and SSDI should not exceed 80% of your average current earnings; if your workers’ compensation claim exceeds that (lump sum pro-rated over the period of disability) you will not be eligible for SSDI benefits at all. This is a problem if the costs of your injury or illness exceed that of the money you received from workers’ comp, and you are disqualified from SSDI.
A workers’ compensation claim should take into account many factors, including other sources of financial support, the nature and length of your injury or illness, and your future ability to secure gainful employment.