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The biggest difference between workers' comp and disability

If you can't work because of an injury, you're no doubt investigating all of your options to cover everything from medical costs to the cost of living. You may find that you can get disability benefits through the state and workers' comp payments. What is the main difference between the two?

Essentially, workers' compensation is used when your employer is the one who is at fault or liable for the injury. It covers injuries that happen while you're on the job.

For example, if you're working at an hourly job and your arm is injured in a machine that was not maintained properly, you can't return to work until it heals. Since your pay is hourly, that means you're not going to have any income. You may also have medical bills from the injury. Instead of going to court, your employer may pay out workers' comp to cover you while you're out.

If you're injured while you're at home, though, you won't likely qualify for workers' comp payments. This is when state disability payments come into the picture. Your employer doesn't have to pay you anything, but you can use these to offset your lost income until you are healthy enough to get back in the workforce again.

Both of these are terrific options if you are hurt and can't get those weekly paychecks, but you can see how they're both for very specific situations. It's critical to know what options are out there, no matter how you were hurt, and how the situation itself changes where you seek out this compensation. Once you know which one works for you, it's time to look into the legal steps you need to take.

Source: FindLaw, "The Difference Between Workers' Comp and Disability Benefits," accessed Oct. 06, 2016

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