Differences Between Short & Long Term Disability Benefits in Pennsylvania
February 28, 2023 | Social Security Disability
Disability can result in a major threat to your financial well-being, even if it only lasts for a short period. A long-term disability can be devastating. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will enjoy full coverage of all losses connected to your disability. Your best chance is if you understand the system and if you hire a disability lawyer to represent you in the event of a claim.
A short-term disability might mean an infectious disease or a broken bone, to name two of many examples. Most people can choose between a short list of realistic coverage options, depending on their circumstances.
Workers’ Compensation for Short-Term Disability
The workers’ compensation system offers compensation for reasonable and necessary medical expenses. It also offers compensation for two-thirds of your lost wages up to a certain maximum that changes annually ($1,273 per week in 2023).
The most important limitation on workers’ compensation benefits for disability purposes is that you only qualify if your disability is work-related. If it is not work-related, you don’t qualify for compensation, even if it affects your ability to work.
Other Options for Short-Term Disability
Pennsylvania law does not require employers to offer short-term disability insurance. This leaves a hole in coverage if you suffer a short-term disability that is unrelated to your work. There are a few ways you might plug this hole:
- Your employer might offer you paid sick leave and vacation time, both of which you can use to cover a temporary disability.
- Your employer or another organization of which you are a member might offer you short-term disability. Most don’t, but you could check and find out.
- The personal injury compensation system might cover your disability if it was unrelated to your work and if it was someone else’s fault. Most likely, you will need to file a claim against their liability insurance policy.
- You can purchase private short-term disability insurance to cover the contingency where you suffer a non-work-related disability that was not anyone else’s fault. Naturally, you must purchase this insurance in advance—once you suffer an accident, it is too late.
Carefully check your circumstances so that you can fill any gaps in your coverage.
Long-term disability is a real threat that you must consider in advance. Consider the below-described options.
Workers’ Compensation for Long-Term Disability
Workers’ compensation in Lebanon covers long-term disability if and only if your injury or illness was work-related. Its benefits are similar to the workers’ compensation benefits for short-term disability, except that you can receive a lump-sum payment that can add up to a lot if you have many years of disability ahead of you.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
SSDI benefits are covered by the FICA taxes you have been paying all along. To qualify for coverage, you must have a sufficient work history. Work history requirements are a bit complex, but a ballpark estimate is about 10 years.
SSDI is subject to strict limitations, however. In 2022, benefits for single recipients who live on their own topped out at $3,345 per month. It is subject to annual cost-of-living increases. You might not receive this much-–the amount is based on the length of your work history and the amount of your salary.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Social Security distributes SSI benefits based on financial need, meaning income and property. Your income must fall below certain thresholds. As an example, in 2022, you were eligible as a single adult if your work income fell below $1,913 per month, your pension or gift income fell below $934 per month, and your total property fell below $2,000. Thresholds are higher for couples but not twice as high because Social Security assumes some sharing of expenses.
Contact an Experienced Disability Lawyer ASAP
It can be challenging trying to thread your way through the disability bureaucracy, particularly if you’ve never done it before. A disability lawyer can guide you through the thicket so that you end up with the most favorable possible results. Contact a lawyer today to set up a free initial consultation so that a lawyer can evaluate your disability claim.
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