Disability Benefits for New York State

By Jack Ori

The State of New York provides financial benefits to residents who are unable to work due to injury, illness, or late-stage pregnancy. Individuals who are injured on the job receive benefits through worker's compensation, while those inured outside of the workplace receive benefits through temporary or permanent disability programs. In order to qualify for benefits, applicants must provide written documentation from a physician confirming that he or she can no longer work and explaining why this is so.

Temporary Disability Benefits

New York provides cash benefits to employed people who are temporarily disabled due to injuries or illness that occurs while not at work. These injuries and illnesses are not related to work or work conditions. New employees must work for at least four consecutive weeks to be eligible for this benefit.

The New York Disability Benefits Law says that people who are temporarily unable to work due to an injury or medical condition are entitled to compensation for lost wages. The benefit is equivalent to 50 percent of the employee's average wages over the eight weeks prior to the illness or injury. The maximum benefit is $170/week as of June 2010, and the employee may receive this benefit for 26 weeks out of every 52-week period.

To receive this benefit, a temporarily disabled person must submit a doctor's certificate to his employer. The certificate must contain information about the person's injury or illness and an estimate of when he will be able to work again. Temporary disability benefits are cash benefits only; the recipient is responsible for paying for his own medical care.

To apply for this benefit, workers may download Form DB-450 from the New York State Worker's Compensation Board website, wcb.state.ny.us. After filling out this form, the employee gives it to her employer to forward to the Disability Benefits Bureau. If the employee has been unable to work for four or more weeks before filing a claim, she should use form DB-300 and mail it directly to the Disability Benefits Bureau. This form is also available at the Worker's Compensation Board website. For more information, please contact:

Disability Benefits Bureau Worker's Compensation Board 100 Broadway-Menands Albany, NY 12241 800-353-3092 www.wcb.state.ny.us/content/main/offthejob/FileClaim_DB.jsp

Worker's Compensation

The New York State Worker's Compensation program offers several benefits to Empire State workers who suffer injury on the job. Benefits are also available to workers who become ill due to job conditions, such as miners who suffer respiratory distress. All employees are eligible for worker's compensation.

After fourteen days of continuous inability to work, employees are entitled to cash benefits. As of June 2010, the benefit was calculated using the formula "2/3 x average weekly wage x percent disability " Average weekly wages are calculated using the person's wages over the past year. As of June 2010, the maximum benefit was $600/week; in July 2010, the New York State Board is expected to adopt the 2011 rate, which is being raised to $739.83/week.

Similarly, employees who return to work but cannot perform all their duties receive monetary compensation if their pay is cut due to their restricted abilities. They may receive 2/3 of the difference in pay as their cash benefit.

In addition to cash benefits, employees are entitled to medical care for work-related injuries. In New York, employers are required to have contracts with particular health care facilities. At the time of injury, the employee must ask her supervisor which facility or doctor to visit. If an employee visits a doctor without employer approval, the visit may not be covered. Employees may receive this benefit, even if they decline cash benefits.

Employees who become ill on the job are entitled to medical and/or cash benefits only if they can demonstrate that the illness was caused by job conditions. Workers must wait two years after the first date of illness to file a claim, except in cases of loss of hearing. If a worker loses hearing due to job conditions, she may file a claim three months after the hearing loss occurs.

If an employee dies from a work-related injury or illness, her dependent survivors (spouse, children, etc.) are entitled to a weekly cash benefit. If she has no dependents, her estate is entitled to compensation of up to $50,000. New York State also covers funeral expenses for workers who died from work-related causes. Metropolitan New York covers up to $6,000 worth of funeral expenses, while all other jurisdictions cover up to $5,000.

Workers may file claims by filling out an Employee C-3 form online or by filling out a paper form and mailing it to the nearest district office. In the event of a worker's death, the next-of-kin must file form C-62 and ask the funeral home to file form C-64. For more information, or to obtain forms, please contact:

Worker's Compensation Board 100 Broadway-Menands Albany, NY 12241 877-632-4996 www.wcb.state.ny.us/content/main/onthejob/howto.jsp

Permanent Disability

New York residents who are unable to work for a period of more than 12 months may apply for permanent disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. The SSA provides a monthly cash benefit to people who cannot work due to disability. New York residents who qualify for disability payments may apply online at the SSA website. You can contact the Social Security Administration at:

Social Security Administration Office of Public Inquiries Windsor Park Building 6401 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21235 800-772-1213 www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability/