Compare the various types of disability payments
It is important to know how Maryland workers compensation benefits can affect and be affected by other sources of disability payments.
It is a possibility that workers compensation benefits can be completely wiped out by other disability payments. Likewise, there are forms of disability payments that can be wiped out by workers compensation payments.
You may have to reimburse short term disability policies
Many individuals chose to pay for a disability policy through their employer. Policies are often obtained through companies such as Aflact, Colonial Life, Aetna, or the Hartford, to name a few. This could be a long term policy or short term policy which provides payments to the employee in the event they are injured. Under most of these policies payments are not contingent on the injury being either a work injury or injury while at home but simply an injury. These policies, however, often contain a contractual obligation with the injured party to repay the short term or long term payments in the event they receive payments from the Maryland workers compensation insurer or even an auto accident settlement.
Social Security Disability Payments
The question of reimbursing social security for their payments is a bit more complicated because of the interaction between Maryland Laws and Federal Laws. In many cases Social Security will reduce the monthly amount they are paying the workers comp claimant by the amount the claimant is receiving from the workers comp insurer. For example, if the injured worker was receiving social security disability in the amount of $1,000 monthly and then begins receiving workers comp payments of $200 monthly then Social Security may very well reduce their payments to $800 a month. This will apply to temporary total disability (ttd) benefits and permanent partial disability (ppd) payments alike. (explanation of the difference in ppd and ttd)
State Disability Payments
On occasion a Maryland state employee sustains a work injury so severe that it may lead to being awarded state disability retirement. If this is the case then the state will continue these payments to the injured worker and gets a complete dollar for dollar credit against any workers compensation benefits that the state may be liable to pay. For example: if the Maryland state disability policy pays $1,000 a month and the injured employee would receive only $800 a month from workers comp then the injured employee would not be entitled to payments under their Maryland workers compensation claim. There is slight room for legal argument to get the employee some payments through the workers comp policy if the disability retirement started paying after the point the injured worker was found to be at maximum medical improvement.
If the employee would receive more through workers compensation than he or she would receive from Maryland disability retirement then the injured would receive payments from both sources up to the expected payout from the workers compensation policy. For instance: if the state disability retirement pays at $800 a month and the workers compensation policy would pay at $1,000 a month the employee would be entitled to $200 a month under Maryland workmans comp laws.
State and County Accident Leave
Many Maryland state and county employees, and some private industry employees (Southwest Airlines) are entitled to accident leave which is provided by the employer. In these instances the employees are paid full or partial salaries in lieu of temporary total disability payments for a period of time. During this time the employee is not entitled to receive temporary total disability payments from the employers workers compensation carrier. There is no need to be concerned with paying the accident leave back because no temporary total payments will be paid while receiving accident leave. Often accident leave is full salary which can be better for injured workers when compared to the 2/3 payment they receive under Maryland workers comp laws.
IN CLOSING, there are a variety of disability payments that a Maryland injured worker can receive and fully understanding these payments is important to any workers compensation claim. Among other concerns, state disability retirement and accident leave payments do not act to toll the statute of limitations which means these payments could interfere with an injured employee ever being able to recover money under their Maryland workers compensation case. In some instances it makes sense to accept the disability retirement and forget all about a chance of recovery under the workers compensation claim, in other instances it may make sense to delay filing for disability retirement or social security.
Contacting an experienced Maryland workmans compensation attorney for a free consultation will likely help clarify which direction is best for you and help maximize compensation.