Disability Payments

Need Disability Payments While Off Work?
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Disability payments general information

When a work-related injury prevents you from working, the insurance company must pay you while you are off. It all begins with seeing a proper medical provider and following his or her recommendations. If the doctor says you are to remain off work, you should request an “off-work slip” from the doctor’s office. One copy should be provided to your employer and you should keep a copy for your own records. Unlike sick leave or private disability plans, there is no artificial time limit on the payment of workers compensation temporary total disability payments.

Average Weekly Wage

Benefits paid to an injured worker, while off work and for permanent injury calculations, are based upon the workers “average weekly wage” (AWW). This term has very special meaning under the law and there are various ways to make the calculation depending on the employee’s circumstances. For example, a worker might be a seasonal employee or an injury might occur the first day on a job. Consult an attorney if you are not sure.

In general, the AWW is arrived at by taking the fifty two (52) weeks prior to the date of accident and averaging the wages earned over the weeks worked over that time period. Some wages may be excluded, such as a holiday bonus or a voluntary overtime. Also, weeks where the employee worked two days or less are not included, which could result in a higher AWW. Again, consult an attorney for proper calculations for your circumstance.

Amount of Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Check

An injured employee is entitled to receive two-thirds (2/3) of his average weekly wage while off work. It is 2/3 because there is no federal or state tax, and no FICA or Medicare deductions. Therefore, the net payment should be approximately equal to the employee’s net take home pay before the injury and disability. This payment is usually made every two weeks.

Minimums and Maximums
The Workers Compensation Act sets certain minimums and maximums for weekly temporary total disability benefits. These amounts are changed from time to time and an attorney can advise you whether these apply in your case.

Light Duty

Your doctor might release you to return to work under restricted activities, commonly referred to as “light duty”. If this occurs, you should request the restrictions in writing from your doctor. Again, one copy should be provided to the employer and one copy should be kept for your own file. The employer and their insurance company then have a choice. They can either provide you with work within the restrictions prescribed, or make payments of temporary total disability to you.

Temporary Partial Return to Work

Note: This section applies only to injuries occurring after February 1, 2006

If an injured employee returns to work under light duty restrictions on a part-time basis, or if the return is full-time but at a reduced rate of pay, the employee is entitled to receive temporary partial disability payments. This payment should be two-thirds (2/3) of the difference between his former wage and the wage is currently earning.

This content is intended to provide general information and guidance only. You should see an attorney and obtain advice if you have questions or concerns regarding workers compensation. Most lawyers will not charge any fee for an initial consultation to review your case. Only by asking questions and obtaining answers will you obtain the rights and benefits to which you are entitled.