If you have been injured on-the-job and are now receiving or are anticipating receiving weekly workers’ compensation benefits, it will help for you to know how much you should be receiving each week. But how is that determined? Does it depend on your injury, or is there a statute that sets how much an employee disabled from work should receive?
If you are disabled from work and your injury qualifies for benefits under workers’ compensation, you will receive weekly benefits, called “Temporary Total Disability” benefits. In nearly all workers’ compensation cases, the injured employee, so long as his or her case is eligible, will receive two-thirds (2/3) of his or her average weekly wage (AWW) from the period of 13 weeks prior to the injury. This 13 week window is used to ensure that you receive a fair amount of compensation each week, although it can be frustrating if you were promoted or given a raise only a week or two before the incident. Of course, this rule will benefit you if you made less money than usual the couple of weeks before the injury, so on average the rule benefits the injured employee. This 2/3 of the workers average weekly wage (AWW) is called the “comp rate,” and it is important for a number of reasons.
There is also a cap on the maximum amount of benefits per week that you can receive, which depends on the actual date of your injury. As of July 2022, the weekly maximum increased to $725/week for accidents that occurred on or after July 1, 2022.
Two-thirds of your AWW will be paid each week until one of four circumstances occurs:
- Light duty: If you are permitted by your “Authorized Treating Physician” to return to “light duty” work, which is work within the restrictions assigned by the doctor, and your employer does give you light duty work, your weekly benefits will cease, unless you are then earning less money than before the injury. If you make less money on light duty than before the injury, you will receive a different category of weekly benefits, which will still be 2/3 of what you are losing due to the injury. There is a separate cap of $483/week on this category. This category is called “Temporary Partial Disability.”
- Full duty: Being approved by your “Authorized Treating Physician” to conduct full duty, or work that is the same or equivalent to your duties before the injury, with no restrictions, ends weekly income benefits.
- Week cap: Depending on how severe your injury was and how significantly it disabled you, weekly income benefits will only continue for 350 or 400 weeks in total. After that point, you will not receive any workers’ compensation weekly benefits unless your work injury is considered “catastrophic.” Also, once the 350- or 400-week cap is reached, you may be eligible to receive “Permanent Partial Disability benefits” if you are assigned a permanent impairment rating due to the injury.
- Settlement: You can conclude your case via settlement for a lump sum paid all at once, which will end your claim and your eligibility for medical and weekly income benefits. Pursuing a settlement is often considered the best option for injured workers, as it allows them to receive a lump sum all at once for their workplace injury and then move on with their lives, free from the insurance company and the workers’ compensation system.
Do you need assistance in figuring out if you are receiving proper workers’ compensation benefits each week? You should contact Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorney Douglas F. Kaleita and our law firm. We’ve got 25+ years of experience we can use to set matters straight and ensure you are taken care of properly. We can also help you file your workers’ compensation claim if you have yet to do so. Just call (888) 665-7699 to schedule a free case evaluation.