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Understanding Long Term Disability After A Work Injury

Someone who has a serious injury or illness that happens at work, or a medical condition or that 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.

If you were injured on the job, one system may be better for you, or you could be entitled to both. We can help you apply for benefits for short term disability insurance, long term disability and workers compensation.

Long Term Disability Benefits in Washington, D.C.

Many companies in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia offer both short term and long term disability insurance for their employees through companies like Lincoln Financial, the Guardian, Hartford, Unum, etc. 

If you cannot return to work due to an injury or medical condition, you can usually apply to receive benefits through your company's human resource department or they may direct you to an online application. 

Depending on when you became disabled (disability will be defined in your policy, but basically it’s the date your injury or medical condition prevents you from working), 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 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 an injury or illness 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 and are getting medical treatment.

Another thing to keep in mind is that long term disability benefits are usually 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 workers comp statute, case law, 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 (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.

That cap on benefits is a lot higher in D.C. than in Maryland or Virginia, so make sure you know the right place to file your workplace injury claim - don’t rely on the insurance company to tell you.

Under D.C. law, if you cannot perform your regular work duties due to the job injury or illness, your employer and it’s 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 specific, proprietary play book with all of the information you need, and we 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 were injured at work, you may be entitled to both long-term disability and worker’s compensation benefits. We can help you file a claim and 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 on getting better.

Call us today at 202-393-3320 for a free consultation 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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