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Is It Possible To Receive Workers’ Compensation If You Already Have A Disability?

 Posted on July 23, 2021 in Workers' Compensation

Gilroy workers comp lawyerWhen you have been injured while on the job, workers’ compensation can help to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other related expenses. Many work injuries result in temporary or even permanent disability. But what happens when someone who already had a disability is injured on the job? Millions of people who suffer from disabilities are still able to work. Are they also entitled to workers’ compensation benefits? If you or a loved one believes that you have a workers’ compensation claim in California, it’s imperative that you understand your rights.


The good news is that those who had a pre-existing disability prior to their work injury are generally still eligible to receive compensation benefits. However, these benefits come from an alternate source: the Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund (SIBTF). The SIBTF helps to compensate those workers who already had an impairment or disability at the time of their workplace injury. However, there are some requirements.


In order to be paid benefits from the SIBTF, the newer injury and the previous impairment or disability must result in at least 70 percent permanent disability. Additionally, at least one of two other industrial thresholds must be met to receive SIBTF benefits:


  1. The most recent injury results in a 35% disability without accounting for your age or profession; or

  2. The earlier disability or impairment affected an eye, leg, foot, arm, or hand, and the subsequent injury impacts the opposite body part (e.g. the other eye). The subsequent injury must also result in permanent disability of 5% or more of the total disability without adjusting for age or occupation.


These percentages are disability ratings.


The SIBTF is so important because it allows employers to hire individuals with disabilities without having to worry that they will be held responsible for any subsequent symptoms or effects of the pre-existing impairment or disability. The SIBTF Claims Unit is responsible for awarding SIBTF benefit checks to those who qualify. However, in order to receive these benefits the injured person must first apply for them.


It is important to note that the pre-existing disability or impairment does not have to be considered “labor disabling” by the individual suffering from it in order for it to count. In other words, so long as the treating physician found that the pre-existing condition was, in fact, labor disabling, that is all that matters. In order to qualify for SIBTF benefits, it is not enough to have a pathological condition if it was not labor disabling prior to the recent injury.


Contact Our Morgan Hill Workers’ Comp Attorneys if You Had a Pre-existing Disability When Injured on the Job


The attorneys of Cramer & Martinez, LLP understand the impact that a work injury can have on so many aspects of your life. That’s why we are here to help you to receive the compensation that you deserve to move forward. For a free consultation, call our San Benito County workers’ compensation lawyers at 408-848-1113 today.




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