If you have short-term disability insurance coverage, then yes, you may claim benefits for short-term disability in Florida. Note, however, that Florida employers aren’t required by law to provide short-term disability coverage for their workers. Meaning, you can’t sue or legally compel them to pay for short-term disability benefits.
However, if you got injured at work, you might be able to claim workers compensation benefits.
Short Term Disability vs. Workers Comp Benefits
While both types of benefits are meant for injured people who can’t go to work, there’s a world of difference between short-term disability and workers comp benefits.
You can claim short-term disability benefits even if you didn’t get injured at work. While workers compensation is reserved for work-related injuries only.
Florida law requires certain employers to provide workers comp coverage to their workers. But, as you know, short-term disability coverage is optional. Your employer can get it for you or you can get it yourself as part of your personal insurance.
Short-term disability benefits only pay for lost wages reimbursement. It doesn’t pay for medical treatments or rehabilitative therapies. Workers compensation, however, pays for all of those and lost wages.
As the name suggests, short-term disability benefits only last for a few weeks at most. But workers compensation can last for the entire duration of your injury.
How to Get Short-Term Disability Benefits in Florida
As mentioned, if you got short-term disability coverage, you can claim short-term disability benefits in Florida. The process of getting your benefits and how much you’ll get depends on the policy you signed up for.
In general, however, short-term disability benefits pay up to 50% to 60% of your lost wages. Most insurance carriers also put a cap on the benefit amount.
Since insurance companies have different protocols for filing a claim, the best way to get this type of benefit is to give your carrier a call. Ask them how to file a claim and how much benefits you can expect.
Once your claim is approved, the payments should start a few days or weeks later. It will last depending on the terms stated in your policy.
What Other Benefits Can Injured Workers Get in Florida?
If you don’t have short-term disability coverage, you may still file for other benefits like:
As mentioned, workers compensation is exclusive for work-related injuries. So if you got injured at work or while you’re working, you may be entitled to workers comp benefits.
If you qualify, your workers comp benefits will include:
- medical benefits
- lost wages reimbursement
- death benefits (if a fatality is involved)
Workers comp medical benefits pay for emergency treatments, medications, medical supplies, and other necessary medical treatments.
Lost wages reimbursement depends on the severity of your injury and how much you were earning before the accident. But in most cases, you’ll receive up to 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage.
To file a workers comp claim, you first need to inform your employer about your injury. Your employer will, in turn, inform the insurance carrier. Make sure to report your injury within 30 days. Otherwise, your insurance carrier will have a valid reason to deny you claim.
Note, however, that workers comp in Florida will not cover the first seven days of your disability unless your recovery period extends to 21 days or more.
Social Security Disability
Social security disability insurance (SSDI) is a federally-funded program managed by the Social Security Agency (SSA). It provides benefits to people who can’t work because of a disability.
To qualify for SSDI, you must have paid enough social security taxes. Your income must not also exceed the SSA’s limit. Otherwise, you can be considered to be engaging in a substantial gainful activity (SGA).
The SGA limit changes every year. For 2022, it’s $1,350 a month and $2,260 for legally blind individuals.
The maximum SSDI benefit for 2022 is $3,345 per month. But most recipients only get anywhere from $800 to $1,800. SSA reports even suggest that about 90% of SSDI beneficiaries get less than $2,000 a month.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
If you haven’t paid enough social security taxes, you can still file for SSI benefits. SSI is a needs-based benefit. Meaning, it’s for people who are earning below a certain income threshold.
The SSI income limit changes every year. To qualify for SSI in 2022, your income must not exceed $841 a month. But if you’re married, the income limit for couples is $1,261.
Can You Claim Short-Term Disability While on Workers Comp?
Short-term disability insurance and workers compensation are two different types of coverage. And Florida’s workers comp law doesn’t prevent anyone from claiming short-term disability benefits if they’re already receiving workers comp.
So if you qualify for both workers comp and short-term disability, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to claim for both at the same time.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.