Many American workers are one accident away from skipping a mortgage payment or forgoing groceries for the week. When you live paycheck to paycheck, being unable to work and earn wages has a huge impact on your ability to take care of yourself and your family. Even if you have money in a savings account, it will disappear quickly if your injury or illness is serious enough to keep you off work for weeks or months. Fortunately, Ohio workers’ compensation provides a safety net when your disability is work-related, but what can you do when injured away from work? If you have disability income insurance, you will have additional support. We consider the differences between these two forms of insurance here.
Almost Every Worker in Ohio Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation
Ohio employers are required by law to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees—with very few exceptions. Companies can participate in the state fund or purchase private insurance to cover their workers. It is a no-fault program, so it doesn’t matter what caused your injury or illness; you will be covered if the accident or exposure happens at work. This does not mean that every claim for workers’ comp that is filed is approved, however. Your claim might be denied if, for example, your employer doesn’t believe the injury or illness is work-related. If the claim is approved, you could be awarded benefits such as:
- Payment of medical bills for ER care, doctors’ visits, ongoing treatment, and more
- Replacement of lost wages, depending on how long you will be disabled
- Lost earning capacity if you can work but can’t earn what you earned before the disability
- Compensation for lost body parts or hearing loss
- Survivor’s benefits if you are the dependent of someone killed on the job
If your employer is giving you a hard time about filing or your claim has been unjustly denied, you can work with an attorney to set things right.
Not Everyone Has Disability Income Insurance
As part of your employee benefits package, you might have been offered disability insurance. Employers do not have to provide this coverage, but many give their employees a chance to opt-in to a group plan where they pay a portion of your premium each month, and you pay the rest. Some employers offer long-term disability plans, while others might only offer short-term plans. Short-term disability insurance will pay a percentage of your base salary for anywhere from a few weeks to up to a year, depending on the specific plan. Long-term policies will pay your lost wages for much longer. These plans do not pay medical expenses, however—that’s what your health insurance plan is for.
The main difference between disability insurance and workers’ comp is that disability insurance covers lost wages for injuries that occur outside of work. So, if you fall off a ladder at home and can’t work for six months, your disability insurance should pay a percentage of your wages. Workers’ comp would not apply. However, most disability income insurance plans won’t pay if you are awarded workers’ comp. In fact, most short-term plans exclude coverage for work injuries altogether, and long-term plan payouts are reduced dollar-for-dollar based on workers’ comp coverage.
If your employer does not offer a group disability income insurance plan, you can purchase your own if you are concerned about an injury sidelining you from earning a living.
Monast Law Office Helps With Workers’ Comp Claims
Monast Law Office has been helping injured workers in Ohio get the workers’ comp benefits they deserve for over 30 years. We can answer basic questions about additional disability income insurance policies you might have, but our focus will be on getting your workers’ comp claim approved. You can learn more about Ohio Worker’s Compensation by requesting a free copy of my book, The Worker’s Guide to Injury Compensation in Ohio, or calling our office at 614-334-4649.