Workers’ compensation insurance and short-term disability (STD) insurance are very different. Workers’ compensation covers injuries that are sustained on the job or illnesses that a worker contracts because of their job. By contrast, short-term disability insurance covers injuries that happen outside the workplace.
For example, if you fall at work and get a concussion, you might be out of work for 8 weeks. You can receive workers’ compensation wage loss benefits during this time because you were injured on the job. However, you can’t get STD benefits because they don’t cover on-the-job injuries.
Conversely, if you were injured in a skiing accident while on vacation, then you will probably draw STD benefits because you were injured outside work. You were not injured on the job.
For these reasons, the answer to the question “Can you collect workers’ comp and short-term disability at the same time?” is usually “no.”
Why is My Employer Telling Me to File for Short-Term Disability?
Short-term disability insurance is usually offered through an insurer as an employee benefit. Your employer probably picks the insurer and you have the option of selecting short-term disability insurance. You might pay all or part of the premiums for the STD policy.
If you were injured, your employer might tell you to apply for STD benefits—even if you were injured on the job. Clearly, this is the wrong advice. Most STD policies contain provisions stating that workers’ comp is responsible for wage loss benefits when you are injured on the job.
Sometimes, an employer is confused about how workers’ comp and short-term disability relate to each other, so perhaps the wrong advice was in good faith. In other situations, however, an employer wants to file for short-term disability benefits precisely so you don’t make a claim on their workers’ comp insurance policy. Often, an employer is afraid that your claim will cause the insurance premiums to increase. To keep that from happening, your employer tells you to file for STD benefits instead.
This is not a legitimate request, and you should meet with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your options.
What if Short-Term Disability Pays More?
Unfortunately, you can’t make a false claim to receive STD benefits, so you can’t say you were injured outside work if that is not true. Furthermore, most short-term disability policies only provide benefits for a year. The workers’ comp system, which is much larger, could potentially pay permanent wage loss benefits, depending on your injury. It is to your benefit to go through the workers’ compensation system if you were injured on the job.
Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you have been injured, you are probably worried about how you will replace your lost income. Contact Arechigo & Stokka today. Our firm has helped many workers receive the benefits they need after a terrible workplace accident. We can guide you through the workers’ compensation process and handle any appeal.
Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.