What Is the Difference Between Workers Comp vs Disability in Pennsylvania?

When an employee is injured on the job, they have two options for receiving financial assistance. The first is workers’ compensation, a state-mandated insurance policy given to employees to help cover medical expenses and wages while recovering from a workplace injury. The second option is disability insurance which covers loss of income if an employee cannot work because of their injuries. These two forms of protection have similar benefits: both stop an employee from falling into poverty due to their injuries, but each serves different purposes and is offered by various companies. Suppose you’re currently working for an employer who does not provide you with workers comp or disability insurance. In that case, you must understand your options to choose the coverage that best suits your needs and budget.

What are Workers’ compensation benefits?

Workers’ compensation benefits are paid to injured workers who have sustained a work-related injury while on the job. Depending on your state, these benefits can be paid by an insurance company or through a state-mandated fund. The eligibility requirements for receiving workers comp vary from state to state but can include a minimum number of work hours, state residency, and a valid Workers’ Compensation claim. If you’re injured while on the job, the worker’s comp insurance will cover medical bills, lost wages, and a percentage of your standard pay. It will also provide you with a percentage of workers comp if you experience a sudden disability that prevents you from working. In Pennsylvania, the worker’s comp insurance covers 80% of your gross wages up to a maximum of $470.55 per week.

What are social security Disability benefits?

If you don’t qualify for workers’ compensation and have a pre-existing medical condition, you may be eligible for disability benefits through the social security administration. In Pennsylvania, the disability benefits are paid by private insurance companies under contract with the federal government. Depending on your financial situation, you may also be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) while your claim is pending. Like workers comp, the eligibility requirements for receiving disability benefits vary based on your state of residence and financial situation.

Critical Differences Between Worker’s Compensation and Disability Insurance

  • An employer provides workers’ compensation while an employee purchases disability insurance.
  • Workers’ compensation is a one-time payment, while disability insurance is a long-term payment.
  • Workers’ compensation is tax-free while disability insurance is taxable.
  • Workers’ compensation can be denied if your injury is your fault, while disability insurance has strict guidelines that must be met for denial.
  • Workers’ compensation covers medical bills while disability insurance does not.
  • Workers’ compensation payments end when you recover or reach retirement age, while disability insurance payments end when you reach a certain age or die.
  • Workers’ compensation is paid through a claim, while disability insurance is purchased through an insurance company.

How to Qualify for Workers Comp in Pennsylvania

  1. Be injured on the job. Your injury must have occurred as a result of your work. This could include an event before or after your shift.
  1. Be able to prove your injury is work-related. In order to qualify for workers’ compensation, your injury must be work-related. An employer can help you establish this.
  1. Meet the employer’s workers’ compensation policy requirements. Employers can set their own worker’s compensation policies. Some employers offer immediate compensation, while others may require you to go through a waiting period.

How to Qualify for Disability Insurance?

  1. Buy disability insurance. Disability insurance is available to anyone healthy enough to purchase a policy. You can buy a policy when you are young and healthy to protect yourself if you cannot work later in life.
  1. Be honest about your medical history. If you have a medical condition, you may be able to buy disability insurance. But, you will likely have to pay a higher premium for your policy.
  1. Be honest about your job history. If you are in a field that is high risk for disability, you may be able to buy disability insurance.
  1. Be able to prove you meet the disability requirements. Disability policies have strict guidelines on what qualifies as a disability and when payments are made.

Which Option Is Right For You?

Workers comp and disability insurance are both valuable safety nets that can help you and your loved ones if you cannot work due to an injury or illness. Depending on your situation, either of these options could be helpful if you cannot work. If you have an illness, a severe injury, or have been out of work for a long time, disability insurance may provide you with the financial assistance you need. Workers comp may provide you with the financial aid you need if you face a short-term or mild injury or have been injured on the job. If you’re facing a personal crisis due to injury or illness, workers comp and disability insurance may be helpful. Understanding the differences between these options is essential to making the best decision for your situation.

Can You Receive Both Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Disability Benefits At The Same Time?

Depending on your particular circumstances, you may be eligible to receive both workers comp benefits and disability benefits simultaneously. However, you should know that you can only receive both if you first apply for social security disability. Once denied, you will be eligible to receive workers’ compensation. If you apply for both forms of coverage simultaneously, your application for workers comp benefits will be denied. The reason for this is two-fold: first, disability benefits are federally funded, and workers comp benefits are state-funded, so the right source of funding must be applied to each type of claim; second, the workers’ comp insurance companies are not in the business of paying double benefits when they only have to pay out once.


Ultimately, the decision between workers’ comp and disability benefits is personal and will depend on your financial situation and state of residence. Understanding your options to choose the coverage that best suits your needs and budget is essential. Suppose you’re currently working for an employer who does not provide you with workers comp or disability insurance. In that case, you must understand your options to choose the coverage that best suits your needs and budget.

Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo has been helping injured employees for decades. Our team of workers’ compensation lawyers works closely to get you a fair settlement as quickly as possible and cut down on delays that the insurance company may cause.

Whether you need medical care, physical therapy or any other type of treatment covered, we’ll make sure you get what you need.

Contact us for expert legal advice by starting a chat on our site or calling us directly. Remember, your consultation is free.

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