Unemployment insurance benefits are only reserved for those who are unemployed for reasons other than injury or disability. However, compensation is available from other sources both for those who were injured on the job and for those who incur temporary disabilities that are not work-related. Those who receive injuries that lead to permanent disability are eligible for federal benefits.

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance, or benefits, is provided to American citizens and legal residents who lose work through no fault of their own. These benefits are not available for those who lose work on account of a temporary or permanent disability. Benefits are administered by state governments. In order to receive unemployment insurance. applicants must have worked steadily during the base period, or year preceding the submission of an application. The amount of unemployment insurance benefits is based directly on the amount applicants made during the base period. Those receiving benefits are expected to actively seek work.

Workers' Compensation

Workers’ compensation is money and medical benefits provided to employees who are injured or become ill as a direct result of work. Known generally as workman’s comp, this compensation is due in the event of both temporary and permanent disability. Laws regarding workman’s comp differ from state to state. In Alabama, for instance, all employers are legally obligated to provide compensation for a workplace-related injury or illness that lasts more than three days. Alabama employers are expected to file all workman’s comp claims and payments with the state. If employers withhold workers’ compensation, employees should seek legal council. The amount of workman’s comp is based on the injured or ill employee’s salary.

State Benefits

As of 2011, five American states and Puerto Rico provide temporary disability insurance (TDI) to residents unable to work on account of injuries or illnesses incurred outside of the workplace. State programs exist in California, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Hawaii. To be eligible for benefits through these programs, applicants must be state residents who were working regularly at the time of the disability. The amount of benefits provided is based directly on an applicant’s salary or hourly wage. The State Workers’ Compensation Board administers TDI in New York. In Hawaii, it is administered by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. All other programs are administered by the same agency that administers unemployment insurance.

Social Security Benefits

Those with injuries resulting in permanent disability are eligible for benefits through Social Security. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is provided after five months of disability. These benefits are only available to those who paid taxes into the Social Security program while working. The amount of the monthly SSDI payment is based directly on the amount that a recipient paid into the program through taxes. As of 2011, SSDI recipients may continue receiving full benefits payments while working if making less than $1,000 per month. Those making more than $1,000 per month are eligible for reduced benefits payments.