Disability for Off-the-Job Injuries

Posted By Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman || 10-May-2018

Under New York workers’ compensation laws, most employees are covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance if: 1) the employee is injured on the job, 2) the employee becomes ill with an occupational disease, or 3) the employee is injured offsite, but during the course of their employment.

“But what if I’m injured off-the-job and my injury is not serious enough to qualify for Social Security disability benefits?” If you live in the State of New York, you may be in luck. According to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, “New York is one of a handful of states that require employees to provide disability benefits coverage to employees for an off-the-job injury or illness.”

What You May Be Entitled To

Under the Disability Benefits Law (Article 9 of the WCL), you may be entitled to weekly cash benefits to replace a portion of your lost wages arising out of an injury or illness that was not work-related (WCL Sec. 204).

According to the Board, if you are eligible for or collecting unemployment benefits and you become disabled or injured and the injury causes you to be ineligible for unemployment benefits, you then become eligible to collect disability benefits.

Who provides disability insurance, the employer or another entity? Under New York law, disability benefits are paid for by employers’ disability insurance, or they’re paid for by employer’s who are self-insured.

What you need to know about disability insurance:

  • Disability only pays cash benefits, it does not pay for medical bills or prescription medication.
  • Disability pays 50 percent of a worker’s average weekly wage for the last eight weeks he or she worked.
  • People cannot receive more than the maximum benefit allowed, which is $170 per a week as of this writing.
  • Disability benefits, whether paid by an employer or insurance carrier are subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes.
  • Benefits can be paid for a maximum of 26 weeks during a 52-consecutive week timeframe.
  • You cannot collect disability and family leave benefits at the same time.
  • Within a 52-week period, you cannot collect more than 26 weeks of combined disability and family leave.
  • If you collect disability benefits, you are responsible for your medical expenses. They are not the responsibility of your employer or their insurance company.

Related: Who is Not Covered by Workers’ Comp in NY?

If you are injured or disabled and are looking for a Long Island workers’ compensation attorney to help you explore all avenues for compensation, contact our firm today.