One of the scariest parts of experiencing a workplace injury is the uncertainty of your income. That may leave you wondering whether or not you will receive a salary while you're off the job.
Many people simply can’t afford to be out of work for an extended period of time, especially if they’re not receiving any money in the interim. The idea of workers’ compensation is that it’s supposed to protect you in the event of an injury at work. However, in reality, that depends on where you live, the nature of the injury, the severity of your disability, and the status of your claim.
IWP is a world-class pharmacy for workers’ compensation medications, but we also try our hardest to clear up the mysteries—and the hassles—of the workers’ comp system. To that end, we want to explain the basics about what to expect regarding your salary after you file a workers' comp claim.
For Open Claims
If you have an open and accepted claim, then your workers’ compensation coverage should generally cover at least part of your salary. Again, however, that will depend largely on where you live because the regulations differ from state to state.
Let’s say that your work injury results in a status of Temporary Total Disability. In that case, you may qualify for time-loss compensation due to the fact that you’re temporarily unable to return to work. Typically, the workers’ comp system in most states offers 66% of your wages. Depending on the state, you may receive your salary benefits weekly, bi-weekly, or once a month. Do your research to find out if your workers’ compensation coverage will also include health care benefits. Several states will pay an additional amount if your employer stops contributing to your health insurance.
What happens if you’re able to return to work, but you have to take on a position that is less labor-intensive yet doesn’t pay as much as your former position? Some states offer Loss of Earning Power benefits. Even though you take a lower-paying job, your employer may pay some of the difference between what you earn in your new position and what you earned before your injury.
Aside from receiving part of your salary from workers’ compensation, you’re also entitled to have medical bills paid that are related to your injury or illness. In general, each bill will be paid as it occurs. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure that you’re seeing a doctor who's approved or accepts workers' compensation insurance. The doctor(s) should send bills directly to your employer or to the workers’ compensation insurance company that your employer uses.
For Closed Claims
The subject of having your salary paid by workers’ compensation is different when your claim is closed. When your claim is either closed or settled, you will only receive benefits in certain situations.
For example, you may receive continuous compensation if a doctor says that you are permanently and totally disabled, making you eligible for a pension. At that point, you will know that you can’t return to work at all due to your injury.
Injured workers who are partially but permanently disabled will generally receive weekly compensation. In this instance, the salary from workers’ compensation is based on the overall percentage of the disability you experienced and the wages you earned before your injury.
Lastly, a settled workers’ compensation claim can result in an agreement for a structured settlement. There’s also the possibility of a lump sum settlement. In both cases, the amount of money you receive is calculated with a few benefits in mind - including wages and future medical treatment.
In closing, workers’ compensation does not pay your full salary, but you are entitled to part of your salary. If you've been injured on the job and need assistance throughout the sometimes confusing process, be sure to consult an attorney for their expertise. Knowing that you have money coming in will give you peace of mind, which will in turn help with your recuperation.