When you are hurt on the job and can’t work, you should receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits which are 2/3 of your average weekly wage, tax free.  It doesn’t make you whole, but it’s the best option and there is not a time limit as to how long you can receive TTD.

A recent caller to our office sustained a pretty severe back injury while working in the northwest suburbs.  If he ends up having surgery he could end up missing a year or more from work.

He was concerned because he called his companies disability benefit provider and his pay rate was going to only be 60% and would expire in three months.  "What am I supposed to do then?" he asked me.

It’s not about what he should do in three months, it’s what he should do now.  There is no reason to go and apply for short or long term disability benefits when you clearly should be getting workers’ compensation benefits.  There are a few reasons for that:

1. The biggest is that on every short or long term benefit application, it asks if you were hurt while working.  If you check yes you won’t get benefits.  If you check no (even when that’s not true) you will potentially blow up your workers’ compensation case.

2. If it turns out that you should have been getting workers comp, you might have to pay those benefits back.

3. Plain and simple, none of these plans gives you a better result that workers’ comp benefits in Illinois do.  As mentioned, most of these plans have expiration dates and lower payouts.

4. Nothing is more important than your health.  As shown in the first point, you can risk losing your case and your medical payments if you apply for something that requires you to state you were not hurt while working.

Bottom line is that should always be honest.  If the truth that you got hurt while working you should get workers’ compensation benefits.

My caller actually didn’t know about TTD and was just doing what a friend of him told him to do.  I’m glad he called though because with the major injury he has, he doesn’t need the stress of worrying about whether or not his benefits will expire.