Workers' Compensation

I’m on workers’ compensation — can I get short-term or long-term disability, too?

So… can you get worker’s compensation weekly checks and also monthly payments from short-term or long-term disability? The answer is… it depends. Note that we are not talking about Social Security Disability. The answer to that is an easy “yes.” You can always draw Social Security Disability (or retirement) checks at the same time as you get workers’ compensation weekly checks. But what about the private disability policies like AFLAC or Unum?

Most of these policies have exclusions in them which specifically say they do not pay for a disability which was caused by a workers’ compensation injury. So in these instances the workers’ compensation laws do not prevent you from getting both checks — the North Carolina Industrial Commission doesn’t care — but the company which provides the disability insurance will care.

If you are uncertain if you can draw both benefits you should ask a workers’ compensation lawyer to look at your disability policy for you. With us, at least, it doesn’t matter if we represent you in your workers’ compensation claim. We’re happy to take a few minutes with you to go over your options.

There are a couple of situations which we want to highlight. The first applies to truck drivers, particularly over-the-road drivers. If you drive for a trucking company which is NOT based in North Carolina this applies to you. Many out-of-state companies require their drivers to carry an Occupational Accident Disability policy. These are an attempt at getting around workers’ compensation insurance. In most of these you cannot get both benefits and there may even be language that if you apply for workers’ compensation you cannot get the benefits of that policy. We’ve had a lot of success in getting around these restrictions against worker’s compensation. Call us and let us walk you through the process.

Another situation arises with some unions. For instance in the collective bargaining agreement in place with UPS drivers have disability insurance in addition to their workers’ compensation benefits. Even when the injured driver is drawing workers’ compensation checks they would be entitled to at least the $200.00 per month minimum payment. Other unions have similar provisions. Neither your employer nor your workers’ compensation adjuster will likely bring this to your attention.

What happens if the adjuster denies your workers compensation claim but you want to apply for disability insurance? Call us. This is tricky and cannot be answered easily because it is not a “one size fits all” answer. But do call us — we aggressively go after workers’ compensation adjusters for denying good claims. And the disability insurance can play a big role in this fight.

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