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Steven M. Lee, PC

Q:
What’s the difference between short-term disability and temporary disability?

A:

When you’re in an accident and sustain serious injuries, your recovery needs to be your top priority. Unfortunately, if you require extensive treatment or are unable to return to work right away, your priorities can quickly shift from healing to worrying about money. If your accident occurred at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation to offset your medical expenses and lost wages. But did you know that you may also have other options?

Depending on the severity of your injuries and where they occurred, you may be eligible for one of two types of injury disability—short-term disability (STD) or temporary total disability (TTD).

Texas Uses Special Terms for Workers’ Compensation

Here’s one reason for the confusion: other states use temporary total disability (TTD) as a category for their workers’ compensation programs. Texas doesn’t. But even some attorneys don’t realize they’re using the wrong terms.

The right phrase in Texas is Temporary Income Benefits (TIB). This is workers’ compensation money paid to an injured worker while he is unable to return to his job. The employee is considered “disabled” because he can’t work, but these benefits are based on the assumption that eventually he will have recovered enough to work again.

There are other phrases used in Texas if it becomes clear the worker will never recover 100% from his injuries. Texas workers’ comp gives out Impairment Income Benefits, Supplemental Income Benefits, and Lifetime Income Benefits for people whose workplace injuries will be permanent.

About Short-Term Disability

In contrast, short-term disability isn’t part of the Texas workers’ compensation program at all. Here are some key differences between STD and other injury compensation programs:

  • Short-term disability benefits will only be awarded if you have purchased a policy through a carrier or you receive it through a union membership. It isn’t handled by the Texas state government, but rather it’s a private insurance arrangement.
  • Short-term disability benefits are awarded if your injury occurred outside of work. Worker’s compensation, of course, covers only injuries sustained as a result of a workplace accident.
  • Short-term disability benefits are taxable. Workers’ compensation benefits aren’t.
  • Short-term disability benefits are temporary and usually last up to six months, depending on your policy. Worker’s compensation benefits are also temporary, but can usually be paid out longer than STD. Payments will continue until you’re either cleared to return to work, declared permanently disabled, or determined to have reached your maximum medical improvement..

Applying for Workers’ Compensation

If you’re left completely unable to work due to a workplace accident, you may be entitled to temporary income benefits. These benefits, in addition to your medical workers’ compensation benefits, are an important part of the workers’ compensation process.

If you’ve been denied disability benefits, but are unable to work during your recovery from a workplace injury, call Steve Lee today to determine if you’re eligible for workers’ compensation. After your FREE consultation, you’ll wonder why you didn’t call earlier. Don’t add any more regrets to your recovery…call now!

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