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What are the TDI-DWC and OIEC?

Workers who suffer injuries on the job in Texas could be entitled to workers' compensation benefits if their employers have the coverage. The Division of Workers' Compensation of the Texas Department of Insurance is tasked with overseeing the distribution of these benefits, while the Office of Injured Employee Counsel is an advocate for injured workers. Both of these are state agencies.

The TDI-DWC is the agency that ensures injured workers receive the benefits that they deserve, such as paid medical costs and lost wages. The agency also lends a hand in resolving workers' compensation disputes and providing workplace health and safety services. However, the agency does not issue the benefits payments, as this is left to insurance providers, self-insured employers, employer groups or government agencies. The OIEC helps employees who become injured to understand the workers' compensation system and provides general assistance. The agency also refers complaints from injured employees to the proper licensing boards and entities, and it also provides an ombudsman to help employees who are going through dispute proceedings. In addition, the OIEC offers injured workers referrals to other appropriate federal, state and local agencies for assistance.

If an employee suffers a work injury, such as a seriously sprained ankle after falling from a ladder, the individual might be eligible for workers' compensation benefits if the employer has coverage through self-insurance or a private insurance provider. While the TDI-DWC ensures that the worker receives the entitled benefits, the OIEC could help the worker with understanding employee rights and how to file a claim.

However, not all claims are clear, to the point and resolved quickly, and sometimes there are disputes. Both the TDI-DWC and OIEC help resolve these issues, but when solutions cannot be found, injured employees might seek guidance from attorneys who have experience in workers' compensation matters.

Source: Texas Department of Insurance, "About Workers' Compensation", November 03, 2014

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