The Difference Between Workers’ Comp and Disability in Arkansas

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Workers’ compensation and disability are two programs that work to the benefit of injured and disabled workers respectively. However, there are differences between workers’ comp and disability that a person should know about before filing an application for either program. For example, workers’ compensation is for employees who suffer a serious injury at their place of employment. If you or a family member is interested in filing for workers’ comp or disability, you should consult with an experienced Fayetteville workers’ compensation lawyer today. For years the Kieklak Law Firm has helped residents of Arkansas file for benefits whether they were through the state’s workers’ comp program or Social Security’s Disability Insurance. Disability lawyer Ken Kieklak is here to explain the difference between workers’ comp and disability in Arkansas.

Workers’ Compensation vs. SSDI

Workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) have several differences that an employee should know about before filing. Under certain circumstances, you may be able to qualify for workers’ comp and SSDI. However, you should consult an experienced lawyer before you decide which program is appropriate for you. The following is a list of differences between workers’ comp and SSDI.

How Workers’ Comp Operates

As mentioned, workers’ compensation is a medical care and wage-loss benefit program that is offered by an employer. An employee qualifies for workers’ comp when they suffer a serious work-related injury that will keep them from working for a period of time. Injuries that are not work-related do not qualify for workers’ compensation. For example, if you get into a car accident while commuting to work and break your leg, this will not be considered a work-related injury. If you had a pre-existing condition that was work-related or not, you could qualify for workers’ comp if you aggravate this injury while working.

It is important to note that an employee that attempts to mask their injury as a work-related issue will likely have their claim denied. Additionally, if you are working while intoxicated or you intentionally cause your injury, this may also affect your eligibility for benefits.

There are multiple workers who are not covered by Arkansas’s workers’ comp program because they may receive it from other sources:

  • Agricultural workers
  • Employees of charitable or religious organizations
  • Farm laborers
  • Housekeepers and other domestic employees
  • Maritime workers
  • Railroad workers

To apply for workers’ comp benefits, you must inform your employer of when and how you were injured in a detailed written report. Once that report is filed with the employer’s insurance company, you will have to undergo a medical examination to determine the extent of your injury. After this examination, your employer should approve or deny your request for workers’ comp. If your request was denied, you still have the option to appeal the decision.

How SSDI Works

A worker qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance if they are an insured worker. Insured workers are individuals that have paid a sufficient amount of their salary to Social Security taxes. These payments to Social Security allow the worker to gather credits for the SSDI benefits program. This program benefits workers who suffer from a medical condition that will last at least a year or workers who have a medical diagnosis that will likely result in death.

A worker can only qualify for SSDI if they have worked for a requisite amount of time. Determining how long you must work to qualify will depend on various circumstances. For example, if you must work for five years, but you became disabled in the third year, this may affect whether you are eligible for benefits.

All claims for SSDI will go through a 5-step claim analyzation process performed by the Social Security Administration. The SSA will examine the following factors:

  • Whether you are working or engaged in substantial gainful activity
  • Whether your disability is severe
  • Is your disability listed by the SSA or similar to a condition listed by the SSA
  • Whether you can continue the line of work you used to perform
  • Does your impairment allow you to engage in other types of work

The process for applying for SSDI or workers’ comp can be difficult, but our firm can help alleviate the process.

Our Arkansas Disability Attorney Can Help You File for Benefits

If you or a family member require assistance filing for disability benefits, you should contact an experienced Arkansas disability attorney today. Injury attorney Ken Kieklak possesses several years of experience handling a wide range of workers’ comp and disability cases for residents of Arkansas. The Kieklak Law Firm knows the importance of having medical and wage assistance when you become injured, and we will help you file for the benefits that you deserve. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your claim, call the Kieklak Law Firm at (479) 251-7767.

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