What’s the Difference Between Disability and Workers’ Comp?

by actuate | April 12th, 2021

When Virginia workers get hurt and can’t do their jobs, they have two options for replacing their income: filing for disability or filing for workers’ comp. Some people think these are the same thing, but they two separate income replacement methods for people who are too hurt or sick to work.

Disability insurance is:

  • Provided by private insurance—Many employers offer disability insurance as part of their benefits packages, but it’s typically optional. Employees who don’t purchase it don’t have access to it if they can’t work.
  • For all injuries—Injured or sick workers can apply for their disability insurance benefits regardless of where their injuries occurred. That means they can get benefits even if they were injured at home.
  • For short- and long-term injuries—Disability insurance is available as both short-term and long-term coverage, the latter of which can cover employees for many years or even decades after they get hurt or sick.

Workers’ compensation is:

  • Provided by state-mandated insurance—Virginia requires that almost all employers purchase workers’ compensation for their workers. Applications are reviewed and approved by a state board called the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.
  • For work-related injuries only—Workers’ comp only kicks in for workers when they get hurt or sick at work or during work-related activities. If their disability occurs at home or while on vacation, they won’t be covered.
  • Typically for short-term injuries—Although workers’ compensation benefits can pay out for a maximum of 500 weeks, most people go back to work much sooner than this. Workers’ comp benefits end when a worker’s doctor says he or she is recovered enough to go back to work.

At Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers, our Virginia workers’ compensation attorneys have helped many injured workers throughout the state get benefits. Contact us for a free consultation if you were hurt at work and have questions about or need assistance with your claim.