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Differences Between Workers' Compensation and Disability Benefits

When Iowa workers get injured on the job, no one knows for sure exactly how long those injuries will last. Sometimes, a worker could have to step away from their job for weeks. Other times, injuries or illnesses can last for months or even years. Some can last a lifetime. So are these injuries handled differently when seeking compensation?

In short, yes they are. Different types of disability benefits are available, changing based on the severity of your ailment and how long it's roughly expected to last. But what is the difference between these benefits and workers' compensation? 

FindLaw takes a look at the primary differences. For example, workers' compensation benefits are offered as a way to avoid litigation later on in the case of an accident. State disability benefits, on the other hand, can be sought even if workers' compensation doesn't cover an accident or ailment. Disability benefits can also cover injuries that didn't actually occur at the workplace, as long as those injuries get in the way of a person continuing to do their job.

On the other hand, Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines workers' compensation as a way of covering damages that occur on the job. For example, a construction worker being injured by faulty scaffolding falls would likely be eligible for workers' compensation. If a fire breaks out in a person's workplace and they get injured, workers' compensation could apply there, as well.

In either case, money is given to someone suffering from health trauma in order to help them pay for their cost of living despite being unable to work. A person's unique situation will determine what is available to them, and which option is better.