Does workers’ comp pay for lost wages? This is a very important concern for workers who have been injured on the job or who become ill due to their work. The answer is that workers’ comp pays a part of lost wages, but not the full amount. These wages are paid as disability income benefits. How much you might receive is based on how disabled you are.
There are four general levels of disablement under workers’ comp. They are:
Temporary total disability
Temporary partial disability
Permanent partial disability.
Temporary Total Disability
If you can’t work at all because of your injury for at least seven days, you are entitled to get temporary total disability benefits starting on the eighth day. These benefits pay two-thirds of your weekly wage up to a maximum cap. The current weekly cap is $675. Also, if your temporary total disability lasts 21 days or more, you can receive payment for the first seven days.
Temporary Partial Disability
When you can work, but not in the same job or as many hours as before, you may be earning less money. Temporary partial disability benefits pay two-thirds of the difference between what you earned before your injury and what you are earning now. For example, if you earned $1,000 a week before your injury and you are now making $400 a week, the difference is $600. So you would get an additional $400 weekly from workers’ comp. There is a $450 per week cap on these benefits.
If your doctor determines that you are permanently and totally disabled and cannot return to work, you may potentially be entitled to receive permanent disability payments for life. The amount of these payments is typically the same as what you would receive for a temporary total disability. That is two-thirds of your weekly wage.
Permanent Partial Disability
When you are permanently disabled, but not completely, you may receive permanent partial disability benefits. The amount will be the same as for a temporary total disability, but you will be limited in how long you can receive benefits. The number of weeks you can get benefits will be based on the body part that was injured and how badly it is injured.
As you can see, workers’ compensation income benefits can be very complicated. Many people turn to workers’ compensation attorneys to help them understand the benefits they are entitled to and assist them with the filing process. This is a smart thing to do because sometimes injured workers find that, even though they have a right to benefits, employers and their insurance companies will try to dispute their injuries and deny benefits.
How Does Workers’ Comp Cover Lost Wages?
Workers’ comp insurance companies usually cover lost wages by sending weekly paper checks. Your first check should be mailed to you within 21 days of your first day off work. The exception to weekly checks can be for workers with permanent partial disabilities. In these cases, insurers might send weekly checks or they might decide to pay for all the weeks in a lump sum.
Also, Georgia doesn’t require insurers to offer direct deposit for workers’ comp payments, but some of them do. You or your attorney can check with the insurer to see whether it is offered.
An additional thing to know is that workers’ comp wage benefits are not taxed, so you will receive the full amount as discussed previously.
Steps to Take to Get Workers’ Compensation and Lost Wages Benefits
To have the best chance of getting the workers’ compensation and lost wages benefits you deserve, take these steps:
Get medical treatment. If it’s an emergency, you can go anywhere for help. In non-emergencies, you will have to see a workers’ comp doctor from a list provided by your employer. Be sure to get copies of all your medical records, which will help you if your claim is denied.
Report your injury to your employer in writing. You have 30 days under the law, but the sooner the better.
Be sure your employer has filled out and sent the WC-1 First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease form to their insurance company.
Keep written track of how the injury or illness is affecting your day-to-day life. This can be important in an appeal if your initial claim is denied.
If your claim is denied, talk with your attorney immediately about filing an appeal. The appeals process can be lengthy, so don’t delay.
It’s very important to pay careful attention to these steps. If you don’t get timely medical treatment, for example, the insurance company may use that to deny your claim. If you don’t report your injury to your employer within the 30-day timeframe, you may not receive benefits.
Does Workers’ Comp Pay for Lost Wages When A Worker Dies?
Dependents of workers who die due to job-related injuries or illnesses can get lost wages. They are entitled to receive two-thirds of weekly wages up to the maximum cap. Spouses and children receive the benefits. Spouses generally receive wage benefits until they remarry or live in a romantic relationship with someone else. Children typically receive benefits until they turn 18. If the deceased worker was not married and had no children, other people who were dependent upon the worker, such as parents, grandchildren and grandparents may receive benefits.
What Other Benefits Can Injured Employees Get From Workers’ Comp?
When employees are injured, workers’ comp also pays medical and rehabilitation costs. It also may pay for retraining for people who can return to work but not in their original jobs. When a worker dies, workers’ comp will pay funeral and burial expenses.
When you’ve been hurt or become ill due to your job, you shouldn’t have to fight with an insurance company to get the wages you need to feed your family and pay your bills. Our workers’ compensation attorneys have extensive experience helping injured employees get the benefits they are entitled to. Call Mann Law Firm in Macon at (478) 742-3381 for help filing or appealing your workers’ comp claim. We provide free initial consultations.