Undertsanding Long Term Disability After A Work Injury

Someone who has a serious injury or illness that happens at work, or is affected by their work, should investigate both workers compensation benefits and long-term disability. There are several important differences and strategies to consider in order to maximize any benefits you are entitled to for your injury or medical condition.

Long Term Disability Benefits in Washington, D.C.

Many companies in Washington D.C. and the suburbs offer long term disability insurance for their employees through companies like Lincoln Financial, the Guardian, Hartford, Unum, etc. 
 
You can usually apply through your company's human resource department or they may direct you to an online application. Depending on when your injury or medical condition caused the disability and you cannot work, you may have to apply for a short term disability benefits first. There is usually a waiting period of 4 to 6 months to receive long-term disability benefits, so short term disability usually fills that gap.
 
Eligibility and the benefits you receive will be governed by the long-term disability insurance policy, so you should get a copy of that as soon as possible. Benefits are typically 60% of your salary but there are several important considerations we see in these long-term disability policies that allow insurance companies to deny these claims.
 
There may be an exclusion for injury illnesses if it happened at work and you are entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. If the policy does not exclude work related injuries and illnesses, there is probably an offset (reduction of benefits) for any worker’s compensation benefits you receive.
 
The long-term disability policy will also define what it means to be disabled and may deny benefits even though you cannot perform your regular job.
 
Another thing to keep in mind is that long term disability benefits are taxable if your company paid the premiums for the coverage.

Worker's Compensation Benefits in Washington, D.C.

D.C. workers compensation law is complicated and a mix of the statute, caselaw, and regulations. Basically, it should provide for both medical and financial benefits when you get hurt while working.
 
While you have to notify your employer of your injury or work related medical condition, you also need to file the proper claim forms with the DC office of Worker’s Compensation and (or the similar state agency where are you were injured), but if you have any employment connection to Washington DC, investigate filing in DC because the benefits are generally higher.
 
Workers compensation benefits are 2/3 of your average weekly earnings, and the benefits are not taxable. There is a cap or maximum benefit rate that is currently $1,532 if your injury occurred in 2021.
 
Under D.C. law, if you cannot perform your regular job duties due to the injury or illness, your employer and his workers comp insurance company can either offer you light duty work within those restrictions or pay your workers comp benefits. Unlike long-term disability, the analysis is really focused on your specific job, the one you held at the time of the injury.
 
For the people we represent, we provide a proprietary play book with all of this information and develop an accurate, detailed and comprehensive job description that we use with your doctors and the insurance company.

Speak To An Experienced D.C. Injury Attorney Before Contacting The Insurance Company

If you may be entitled to both long-term disability and worker’s compensation benefits, we can help guide you through the process to make sure you are protected and not taken advantage of by the insurance companies.
 
We make it easy for you. We provide a plan so that you can focus I’m getting better.
 
Call us today at 202-393-3320 for a confidential, no obligation, complementary strategy session to see how we can help. We’ll conduct a short confidential interview and guarantee you will get great ideas and information that can help.
Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer
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