If you have purchased a short-term disability (STD) or long-term disability (LTD) policy, or your employer has purchased one on your behalf, you may be eligible for additional damages aside from workers’ compensation benefits.
First, it is essential to understand what STD and LTD benefits are. Then, you need to know how STD and LTD benefits will affect your workers’ compensation case. Lastly, work with a trusted workers’ compensation attorney to see what you can do to maximize your recovery of benefits.
What Are Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Benefits?
STD and LTD benefits are purely contractual. In other words, how you get those benefits and how much you get paid depends on the contract you signed. Typically, the contract is referred to as the “policy” or “plan.” These can include pension plans, health and welfare plans, or non-ERISA plans. Every policy will be different, and a workers’ compensation.
You are entitled to STD or LTD benefits if you meet the definition of disability under the policy, meet the waiting period, and are not subject to limitations or exclusions.
Typically, you are paid a percentage of the pre-disability wage in effect just prior to the date of your disability. This percentage varies from policy to policy. There may also be a maximum and minimum benefit amount.
Usually, your workers’ compensation benefits will not be affected by your receipt of STD or LTD benefits. However, your STD and LTD disability benefits may be reduced or suspended if you receive workers’ compensation benefits. Again, this is based on the language and terms outlined in your specific policy. The contract or policy controls what other income is offset and to what extent.
It may be helpful to have an attorney review the language in your benefits policy with you to find the best ways to maximize your compensation. It will be vital to obtain a copy of the policy and summary of the plan documents before meeting with a trusted workers’ compensation attorney in your area.
Are STD and LTD Different Than Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI)?
The short answer to this question is yes, these types of benefits are different. They work similarly because each type of benefit provides wage loss replacement, but how and when they are paid out is different. A better decision in one matter does not necessarily mean a more favorable outcome in the other as well.
An LTD carrier may require you to file for SSDI after receiving LTD benefits. If you decide not to file for SSDI, the LTD carrier can go ahead and offset the amount you would get from SSDI anyway. An experienced attorney can explain your options and help you get a handle on the decisions that are right for you and your disability.
How Do I Maximize My Recovery of STD or LTD Benefits While Getting Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
To maximize your recovery, you need to make sure you know what is in your STD or LTD policy. Also, you may need to know what is provided in your employee handbook or benefits brochures regarding STD and LTD benefits. These are all critical pieces of information that can indicate the kind of compensation you’re eligible to receive.
Next, if you are considering seeking a settlement, it is important to understand what effect a workers’ compensation settlement can have on your STD or LTD benefits.
It is vital to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who understands these dynamics. Failure to include important language in the settlement agreement or failure to involve the insurance carrier can have a drastic impact on both cases. In certain situations, failure to include the appropriate language could result in having your STD or LTD benefits reduced or entirely offset by your workers’ compensation benefits.
Contact a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorney to Maximize Your Recovery
Not every scenario can be anticipated. It is crucial to discuss your individual case with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney and determine the best course of action for your specific circumstances. Before you consider settling your case, speak with an attorney from Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law and get the attention required to receive the compensation you deserve.