When you are a primary source of income in your household, meeting the financial needs of a family can be challenging, especially if you have several children. If you suffer injury in the workplace and must take time off temporarily or are permanently unable to return to work, your family may be at risk for serious financial distress. What if your Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits aren’t enough to make ends meet?
Your employer has likely purchased workers’ comp insurance, the intentions of which are to provide benefits that cover medical expenses or replace lost wages if you or your coworkers suffer injury on the job. It’s important to know what additional options might be available if your workers’ comp benefits run short of what your family needs to get by.
Do you qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits?
As a Pennsylvania worker who has suffered injuries during the normal scope of your employment, you may be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits and SSD benefits at the same time. You must, of course, meet the eligibility requirements for both programs. In short, in certain circumstances, you might be able to receive concurrent benefits, as long as you qualify for both.
If you collect SSD benefits, your employer may adjust the amount you’re receiving through the workers’ comp program. However, even with a lowered amount, the sum total per month would still bring more money into your household to help your family pay bills and put food on the table than you would be receiving through one program alone. If you plan to apply for concurrent benefits from both programs, it’s imperative that you inform your employer, as well as the Social Security Administration.
Do you have grounds for filing a third-party injury claim?
Depending on the details of the events that resulted in your injuries, you may be able to seek restitution in civil court, if another person’s negligence was a causal factor in the incident. If you were involved in a motor vehicle collision or were using equipment that was defective, etc., a third party may be liable for damages.
Filing a third-party personal injury claim is separate from and does not affect workers’ compensation benefits. If the court rules in your favor, you will receive compensation, which you may then use to provide for your spouse and children while you’re unable to work because of your injuries.
Taking one day at a time in recovery
If you are the main breadwinner in your family, and you suffer injuries on the job that prevent you from returning to work, it can cause immediate, as well as far-reaching, financial crisis in your home, even if you have savings set aside for emergencies. Basic cost-cutting adjustments may help you make ends meet, such as eliminating unnecessary purchases and buying generic brand products at the grocery store.
It’s understandable, however, that you and your family may need additional support and assistance to meet the cost of living while you are unable to work. In such cases, it’s helpful to explore all options available, especially benefits that may be available in addition to workers’ comp. To learn more about what type of assistance may be available to you and your family, it’s helpful to speak with someone who is well-versed in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws.