Most people who get hurt on the job suffer temporary injuries. They go out on workers compensation for a few months and then go back to work, good as new. There are some unlucky victims, however, who suffer much more serious injuries. Our workers comp attorneys in Atlanta meet with clients every week who have suffered some sort of workplace accident. Some of them end up okay at the end of their treatment. Others find themselves permanently disabled.
There is also a group of people who can’t work, but not because they got hurt on the job. Their injuries or illness have nothing to do with a workplace accident. Instead, they were hurt or got sick in their normal, day-to-day lives. Their injuries prevent them from working. They have been declared disabled by their doctor and are looking to the state to pay them monthly disability benefits.
The two programs are completely different. And, while some people think you can’t collect both disability and workers comp at the same time, you can. There is a limit to how much you can receive per month. But your Georgia personal injury attorney can help you figure out how this works.
Here, we’ll talk about the differences between the two types of benefits. We’ll also briefly explain how it works when you’re collecting both types of benefits. If you still have questions after reading this here, just call our office. You can schedule your free, initial consultation right over the phone.
What Is the Difference Between Disability and Workers Compensation in Georgia?
Both disability and workers compensation are programs that people can utilize when they aren’t able to work. The big difference is that workers comp is for people who got hurt at work. Disability is for people who got hurt some other way and are not able to work as a result.
The other big difference between the two programs is where the benefits come from. Disability benefits are paid by the state. If you apply and are approved, you will receive monthly disability checks. Workers’ compensation benefits, on the other hand, are paid through your employer’s insurance company. They pay premiums every month as you do for your auto insurance. If an employee gets hurt on the job, the insurance kicks in and covers their expenses.
There is also another big difference between the two types of benefits. Workers’ comp is meant to be short-term. Your workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta will fight to get you benefits for as long as they can. However, eventually, they do terminate. For example, in Georgia, you can only collect workers comp for 400 weeks. This is close to 8 years which is a long time to be out on workers comp. Most cases settle long before they reach that point.
With disability, most claimants go into the program knowing that they may never work again. In fact, to become eligible for disability benefits, you must prove that you have had the medical condition (or will have it) for at least a year. Your doctor will need to certify this fact. If somehow, you do recover in the future, your benefits would become exhausted. However, the percentage of people who go on disability only to come off later is low.
You Can Apply for Both Workers Comp and Disability in Atlanta
It might be hard to imagine a situation in which you would need to collect both workers comp and disability. Typically, a person would be on workers’ compensation before they apply for disability. It wouldn’t really work the other way. To qualify for disability, you must prove that you aren’t able to work at all. If you can’t work, then how would you get hurt on the job?
Looking at it the other way, it is understandable. For example, imagine that you get hurt at work. You’re out on workers comp for 11 months. The doctor determines that you’ve met maximum medical improvement. The court decides that it’s time for you to deserve to receive permanent partial disability benefits in the amount of $300 per week. This will come out to be approximately $1,200 per month,
If the same worker in the above situation is permanently disabled to the point where they can’t work, they can apply for disability benefits through the state. If their claim is approved, they are eligible to collect up to $3,345 per month. The exact amount depends on your salary prior to becoming disabled.
The question now is – are you allowed to collect the maximum amount under both programs? The short answer is – no.
What Are the Total Benefits You Can Collect?
If you do end up collecting both disability and workers’ compensation benefits, you’ll notice quickly that one program will offset the other. In Georgia, your disability benefits will be reduced so that you don’t exceed the allowable monthly maximum.
The way it works is rather simple. You will continue to receive your $300 per week as ordered by the court. This comes out to be $1,200 per month. The most you’re able to receive under disability is $3,345. It is determined by taking 60% of your average weekly wages.
So, if you typically earned $4,000 per month, you would be eligible to receive approximately $3,200. The problem is that $3,200 (disability) and $1,200 (workers comp) add up to $4,400. This is more than $1,000 more than you’re entitled to receive every month.
When you’re in this situation, the state will reduce your disability benefits so that you don’t exceed the maximum. In this example, your disability benefits would be reduced by $1,055 per month. You would still get the maximum total benefits of $3,200. You just aren’t allowed to receive more than that amount.
Contact Experienced Workers Compensation Attorneys in Atlanta Today!
If you’re collecting workers’ compensation benefits and are looking to apply for disability, you need help. Both of these systems can be very difficult to navigate. You’ll be in a much better position if you have a seasoned Georgia personal injury attorney by your side.
All you have to do is call our office and schedule your free, initial consultation. Take a half hour out of your time to explain your situation to an experienced professional. Since the consultation is free, you don’t have anything to lose.