Short Term (STD), Long Term Disability (LTD), Life Insurance Benefits and your Workers’ Compensation Claim

Many larger employers may have Short Term and Long Term Disability benefits available if you can’t work. These are usually tied in with your rights under FMLA and Americans with Disability Act protection.  This is an important benefit if you have a prolonged non-work related medical condition, or if you are hurt at work, and the claim is denied by workers’ compensation.

stockfresh_4489991_work-accident_sizeS-300x208Short Term Disability benefits usually last between three and six months. Usually, you can’t collect Short Term Disability benefits if you are receiving workers’ compensation. People expect that you usually can’t “double-dip,” which means you won’t receive both a full comp check and a Long Term Disability benefit.  Therefore, Long Term Disability benefits typically, but not always, will be reduced by your workers’ compensation benefit.  However, it may be advisable to apply for LTD anyway. In some cases, you may only be entitled to a small monthly benefit in addition to workers’ compensation, sometimes more if you have paid for extra LTD coverage.  Your LTD may also provide additional benefits when you settle your workers’ compensation case. Keep in mind that usually, your employer won’t encourage you to apply for LTD while you are on worker’s compensation.

The LTD insurer will likely claim an overpayment and will want to be repaid for some or all of the LTD that you’ve been paid if you become eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD), or if you receive workers compensation benefits.  However, before repaying an overpayment of LTD you should seek legal advice about your rights and obligations. 

With a serious injury, don’t assume that there’s no point in applying for LTD if you are receiving worker’s compensation. In some cases, it can mean significant additional dollars that you may be entitled to or even make it possible to settle your workers’ compensation case in a way that you can live with.  Long Term Disability policies differ, so they need to be carefully analyzed in the context of your workers’ compensation case. Also, with some exceptions, you need to apply while you are still employed. Discuss these issues, along with a decision about filing for Social Security Disability benefits, with your lawyer.  It may make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

In addition to STD and LTD, if you are covered by an employer’s group life insurance plan, you may be entitled to continue that coverage at no cost after your employment ends due to disability, if the life insurance policy has a premium waiver benefit. So if you are hurt at work,  find out if you have Short Term and Long Term Disability benefits and get a copy of your employers STD, LTD and life insurance policies. You may also want to have an attorney review your STD and LTD application forms before you sign and submit them.  If you have been injured on the job and have questions about workers’ compensation please call Grimes Teich Anderson at 800-533-6845 for a free case evaluation.

Henry Teich is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law and a founding partner of Grimes Teich Anderson LLP Injury and Disability Lawyers. To read more about Henry, please click here.

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