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Unemployment vs. State Disability vs. Workers’ Comp: Key Differences

Every state operates its unemployment, disability, and workers’ compensation services differently. The best way to understand how these programs work is to begin by identifying the differences between them.

What is the Difference Between Unemployment, State Disability, and Workers' Comp?

While the benefits one may receive while enrolled in the above programs may be similar, there are notable differences between the two. For example, unemployment eligibility requires the individual receiving benefits to be actively seeking a job.[1] Disability benefits, however, hinge on the idea that the individual cannot find gainful employment due to mental and/or physical limitations.[2] Workers' compensation is specifically for employees who are injured or become ill on or as a result of their workplace.

Six Things You Must Know About Unemployment, Ohio Disability Benefits, and Workers’ Compensation

Here are some of the key factors to bear in mind when trying to navigate unemployment, Ohio disability benefits, and workers’ comp:

  • Unemployment benefits are for those looking for work but not currently employed.
  • Disability benefits are for those who cannot work due to physical or mental injuries or illnesses.
  • Workers’ compensation benefits are for those injured or who become ill on or as a result of their work.

When asking, “Which Ohio unemployment benefit applies to me?” consider the following

  • People between jobs should seek unemployment benefits to pay their bills while searching.
  • People incapacitated due to a workplace event should always seek workers’ compensation first.
  • People who are physically or mentally unable to work should seek long-term disability benefits.

Disability Difficulties? Seek Help from NRS Injury Law

When people become disabled due to a workplace event, workers’ compensation in Ohio benefits disabled employees, allowing them to maintain an income while recovering. However, if there are complications with Ohio workers’ comp and disability benefits that cannot cover the wage gap, disabled individuals must seek legal help.

As the largest workers’ compensation firm in Ohio, NRS Injury Law knows how to navigate workers’ comp, state disability benefits, and unemployment benefits. For a no-cost assessment of your case, contact NRS Injury Law today at 855.468.4878, or fill out our convenient contact form to schedule an appointment.


[1] ODJFS. “Unemployment Benefits: General Information.” Department of Job and Family Services, 2022.

[2] OOD. “Disability Determination Process.” Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, 2022.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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