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The objective of workers' comp insurance is to ensure a source of income for you if a work-related injury or illness prevents you from working and, in some cases, income for your dependents if the injury or illness results in your death. Few businesses are exempt from the requirement to provide this insurance, although in states such as Missouri businesses employing farm laborers, domestic assistants, some real estate agents and direct sellers and commercial motor-carrier owner-operators are exempt.
Most workers’ comp programs include medical care, rehabilitation, disability and death benefits. Medical care includes costs resulting from doctor visits, medication, surgery, equipment such as a wheelchair and sometimes services such as counseling, pain therapy and acupuncture. Rehabilitation benefits cover not only the cost of services such as physical therapy during your recovery but also retraining costs you incur if you cannot return to your job. Most states pay disability benefits according to the degree of disability. These include a temporary partial or total disability, and a permanent partial or total disability. Death
benefits usually include funeral and burial expenses, as well as a lump sum or percentage of earnings, depending on the state in which you live.
As long as the state in which you live authorizes medical treatments and rehabilitative services, you will have no out-of-pocket costs for any related expenses. Disability wage compensation depends on state workers' compensation laws. For example, in Michigan, compensation is 80 percent of your average weekly net wage, while in Missouri the amount you receive varies, with a maximum of two-thirds of your average weekly wage.
Receiving workers’ comp disability payments does not disqualify you from also receiving disability payments via Social Security. Because the waiting period for workers’ comp is much shorter, you first receive full benefits under the workers’ comp program. Once you pass the waiting period and qualify for Social Security disability benefits, the amount you receive for workers’ comp will decrease. According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, the total amount of benefits you receive cannot be more than 80 percent of your normal earnings.