Short Term vs. Long Term Disability in Pennyslvania

No one likes the thought of being on disability. However, many people in Pennsylvania find themselves in need of financial assistance because of an injury or medical condition. For instance, you might be out of work for a few weeks if you fracture your leg. However, if your ability to walk is permanently prohibited because of a spinal injury, you might not be able to work again. When it comes to disability payments, many people immediately think of it in terms of short-term and long-term disability.

Pennsylvania law does not require people or employers to carry short-term disability insurance. Therefore, if you are injured or have a medical condition that will keep you out of work for a few months, your options are limited. In some cases, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two programs to provide long-term disability payments. However, for each, you must have a qualifying condition that will last at least twelve months or end in your death.

At Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane, our Philadelphia disability lawyers guide individuals through these murky waters. Disability benefits are often the difference between paying your monthly bills or falling behind. If you cannot work, you want to ensure that you and your family have the economic assistance you deserve. Call (215) 515-2954 to review your options.

What is the Difference Between Short-Term and Long-Term Disability in PA?

The obvious difference between long-term and short-term disability would seem to be the length of time that benefits are paid. While that is a significant difference, it is important to understand what benefits are available.

Short-Term Disability

Employers in Pennsylvania are not required to carry short-term disability insurance for their employees. Likewise, no worker in the commonwealth must purchase short-term insurance coverage. If you want short-term coverage, you would have to go through a private insurance company and apply based on your current age, health, and occupation.

Short-term disability provides financial benefits if you are out of work for a short period. Some common examples include broken arms, recovering from surgery, or even pregnancy. Employees in Pennsylvania offer workers’ compensation which could provide benefits if you need time to recover from an injury. However, these benefits are for work-related injuries and would not cover medical impairments not related to your job.

Long-Term Disability

Some injuries and medical conditions will keep you out of work for years or indefinitely. If you suffer a permanently disabling injury on the job, you could be eligible for long-term disability benefits under your employer’s workers’ compensation coverage. However, you must have been injured while working. Worker’s compensation will not cover you if you develop a medical condition or impairment that prohibits you from working. For example, if you have a degenerate back disease that is genetic, you will not be covered under workers’ comp.

For people with medical conditions, disabilities, or other impairments that keep them from working, there are two programs administered by the SSA that provide long-term disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Our Pennsylvania disability lawyers will help review your medical documentation and assist with the application process. While long-term disability benefits are helpful, the application process could quickly become overwhelming and frustrating. Many applicants are denied for submitting claims with omissions or errors and for failing to provide sufficient medical evidence to support their claim.

Qualifying for Long-Term Disability in Pennsylvania

If you live in Pennsylvania and require long-term disability, there are two options. Our experienced Jenkintown, PA disability lawyers will carefully each option to determine which is most advantageous given your circumstances.

Social Security Disability

There are two Social Security Disability programs, SSDI and SSI, that cover individuals with non-occupational disabilities and impairments. SSDI is funded by FICA payroll taxes and requires that an applicant has a sufficient work history, while SSI is for people with limited resources and income.

The advantage of this Social Security Disability is that the applicant is not required to have paid for a policy in advance. However, there are some disadvantages. For example, nether SSDI or SSI will cover temporary disabilities. Your condition must be expected to last at least twelve months and you will need substantial medical documentation, including a diagnosis from a qualified physician, supporting your claim. The approval process is also lengthy and complicated. Typically, only approximately 40% of all applicants qualify for disabilities. It is crucial to have our Bucks County disability attorneys working with you if you apply for Social Security Disability benefits.

Temporary Disability Through Workers’ Compensation

Under Pennsylvania law, most employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance on behalf of their employees. Workers’ comp provides temporary disability benefits for occupational injuries, accidents, and sicknesses. The advantages of this coverage include not having to prove negligence on the part of any other person, company, or entity, and the benefits are paid relatively quickly.

Additionally, these benefits cover more than just lost income. Under temporary disability through workers’ compensation, you could be compensated for medical services, doctors’ appointments, hospital costs, prescription medication, and other medical supplies or appliances. While this sounds positive, some insurance companies will challenge or try to limit benefit payments. Our Allentown workers’ compensation lawyers are available to help ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.

Pennsylvania Disability Lawyers Working for You and Your Family

The West Chester disability lawyers at Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane understand the fear of being out of work for an extended period. Whether you miss a couple of months or several years, you need financial assistance to weather the storm. Fortunately, you have options, whether you are filing a workers’ compensation claim or are applying for Social Security benefits. However, without experience, your might not know which is the best path to take. We have been handling challenging disability cases for over two decades. Our office will fight for the short-term and long-term disability benefits you deserve. Call (215) 515-2954 to discuss steps you should take to obtain the financial help you need.