Some of our clients don’t realize that workers’ compensation is not the same thing as disability. Yes, people collecting disability benefits and workers’ compensation are both partially or totally disabled. However, you don’t have to injure yourself at work to receive disability benefits. You have to prove to the state that you are not able to work at all.
It is much harder to receive disability benefits than it is to qualify for workers comp. Your injury attorneys in Charlotte are there to help you file your workers’ compensation claim. They can also file a workers comp lawsuit against your employer if they deny your claim.
Here, we’ll discuss the major differences between disability benefits and workers’ compensation in North Carolina. We’ll also briefly touch on how you qualify for each. It can be really confusing for people who aren’t familiar with the law. Even personal injury attorneys in Charlotte who don’t handle workers’ comp claims get confused from time to time.
If you still have questions after reading this article, just give our office a call. One of our injury attorneys in Charlotte can sit down with you and answer any questions you may have.
How Do You Qualify for Workers Compensation in North Carolina?
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation, you need to meet certain criteria. If you don’t meet these criteria, your claim will be denied. Of course, you’ll still have a right to file for disability. Just keep in mind that more than 70% of all first-time disability claims are denied. You’ll have a much better chance of having your workers comp claim approved than you do a disability claim.
The requirements for workers comp in North Carolina include the following:
- Your injury must take place on the job
- You must be on the clock (or within your scope of employment)
- You can’t be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your accident
- You must report your injury immediately
- You have to submit to a drug test
- You’ll have to be treated by a state-approved doctor
- You’ll have to follow your doctor’s treatment recommendation
If you meet all of these criteria, there’s a good chance your claim will be approved. If they still deny your claim, your injury attorneys in Charlotte will file an appeal on your behalf. This way, the North Carolina workers comp commission will get a chance to review your claim and make an unbiased decision.
Are the Requirements for Disability Benefits the Same as for Workers Compensation?
The requirements for disability benefits in North Carolina are a lot harder to meet than they are for workers’ compensation. This is because you typically stay on social security once you’re approved. The state is not going to approve a claim unless they are 100% confident the person won’t be able to work and earn a substantial income.
The criteria for being approved for disability benefits in Charlotte, North Carolina include:
- Your condition must be severe – it is not enough to show that you have a broken bone or short-term medical condition.
- Your doctor must certify that your condition is severe
- You must have had (or be projected to have) this condition for at least 1 year
- You must be able to show that you are unable to work and that you cannot earn a substantial income.
As you can see, even if your personal injury attorneys in Charlotte can show that you are unable to work, unless they can show that it will last for more than a year, you won’t qualify for disability benefits.
It is important to point out that, while you must show that you’re 100% disabled to qualify for disability, you don’t have to prove that you’ll be permanently disabled. As long as you can show that your condition will last for more than a year, you may be approved for disability benefits.
Your Personal Injury Attorneys in Charlotte Will Fight to Get You Benefits Either Way
It doesn’t matter whether you’re filing a workers’ compensation claim or a claim for disability benefits – your personal injury attorneys in Charlotte are going to fight to get you the money you deserve.
The benefits you’ll receive under the two programs are different. With workers comp, you’re going to receive free medical care. This is limited to injuries that were caused by your workplace accident. This is not the case with disability. Of course, there is a chance that you could apply for Medicaid if you have no income – but there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved.
With workers comp, you’ll receive replacement wages until you’re ready to return to work. With disability, you’ll receive monthly checks instead of weekly ones. You’ll also receive them for the long term unless your medical condition somehow resolves itself.
With workers comp, you’re only able to collect benefits until you’re declared ready to return to work. With disability, you will likely collect benefits until you’re of retirement age.
The other major difference between disability benefits and workers’ compensation is the amount you’ll be paid each week (or month). With workers comp, they will look at your last 52 weeks of employment and find your weekly wages. Your checks will be for 2/3 of this amount. It is not taxable.
With disability benefits, you will receive one monthly check. The amount will be anywhere between 50 and 64% of your average prior income. You would have to apply for benefits and wait to find out how much you’ll receive. These disability benefits, like workers’ compensation benefits, are not taxed.
Contact One of Our Personal Injury Attorneys in Charlotte
If you or your spouse have been injured at work, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The laws in North Carolina are rather clear when it comes to both workers’ compensation and disability benefits. Our personal injury attorneys in Charlotte can help clarify the laws for you and show you what kind of benefits you can receive under both systems.
We suggest you call our office as soon as possible after your work-related accident. You can schedule your free, initial consultation. Sit down with one of our associates who can review your case and give you an idea of what you’re up against. They can also give you an idea of what your case is worth. The consultation is free, so you don’t have to worry about paying anything upfront.