Workers’ comp insurance benefits are intended to keep injured workers financially secure while they recover from their work-related illness or injury. But this doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to receive workers’ comp benefits for as long as you’re sick or injured. Workers’ comp benefits have a limit that you can possibly reach before you’ve completely recovered.
Likewise, how long you can receive workers’ comp benefits will also depend on what kind of benefits (whether for temporary or permanent disability) you’re receiving.
Your temporary disability (TD) payments will end when one of the following applies to your case:
- Your treating physician says you’re well enough to go back to work.
- You come back to your job or an alternate or modified work at your standard wages or at wages related to the maximum limit on temporary total disability payments.
- Your condition has reached a point where it’s not worsening and not improving. When this occurs, your condition will be considered stationary and permanent.
- You got injured after or on January 1, 2008, and have received TD benefits of up to 104 weeks within five years of your injury date, or you got injured after or sometime on April 19, 2004, through December 31, 2007, and have received TD payments within two years from the date you started receiving benefits.
Workers with injuries involving the following may receive TD benefits up to 240 weeks within five years from their injury date:
- Chronic or acute hepatitis B or C
- Severe burns
- High-velocity eye problems
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Chemical eye burns
- Chronic lung disease
- Pulmonary fibrosis
It’s also crucial to note that when your TD payments end, the workers’ comp claims administrator must send a letter telling you why your payments are ending and include a list of all payments they sent you. You must receive this letter within two weeks after you receive your final payment. If your treating physician tells you that you’ll never completely recover, you may qualify for permanent disability benefits (PD) or supplemental job displacement benefits.
If you suffer from a permanent partial disability, you will receive the total of your permanent disability benefits spread over a predetermined number of weeks. But if you suffer from a permanent total disability, you will receive payments for your entire life.
Your PD benefits will end once you settle your workers’ comp case and obtain a lump sum payment or reach the maximum amount permitted by the law. Keep in mind that the lump sum will be reduced by the payments you already received, which can include any advances. Navigating the workers’ comp insurance landscape can be daunting, especially if you suffer more severe injuries or end up becoming disabled and not being able to work and earn a living for the rest of your life. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer can help you figure out the best options for your specific case and ensure that you receive the benefits that you deserve.