The benefits offered to injured workers can be incredibly valuable. The goal of this employer-paid policy is meant to allow workers to keep their job, have medical expenses covered, and to rest at home until they can return to their job. To do so, you should not need to lose out on your salary, so workers' comp will pay qualified hurt workers a disability wage. Read on to learn more.
The Disability Wage and Your Doctor
If your claim is approved for your work-related injury or occupational illness, you can expect to be paid a weekly wage. The determination for this benefit and how long you can take advantage of it depends on your doctor's evaluation. You may either use your own doctor or a specified worker's comp doctor (depending on the rules in your state) and this professional will direct every aspect of your care. They will issue an order to stay home, determine when you can return to work, and recommend any light duty work.
Recuperation Away from Work
In many cases, your workplace injury results in a few days off and a quick return to work. If your injury is more serious, however, you could be out of work for some time. Hospitalizations, surgery, and physical therapy can cause an extended period of recuperation away from work. You might have sick leave or even vacation pay available, but you don't need to use those while you recuperate. The disability wages you receive as a result of a workplace injury are not meant to completely replace your usual salary. In most cases, the amount equals approximately 66.6% or so of your normal salary. The actual percentage varies from state to state, so view your workers' compensation board website in your state to learn more.
Workers' comp wages are not like your normal pay. They are paid weekly (usually in check form) and no taxes are removed from them. In fact, these wages are not considered income and should not affect your taxes or other benefits in any way. Unfortunately, since you are not actually earning income, your deductions for certain work perks might be affected. For example, if you pay a premium for your employer-sponsored health insurance, you will need to make arrangements to continue these benefits while you are on disability wages. Additionally, 401k and other deductions will cease. Speak to your human resource office about paying any needed costs on your own.
Problems With Recuperation
At some point, you must either be cleared to return to work or be ruled to be permanently disabled. Seek help from a workers' comp attorney if you are told to return to work too soon or you are ruled to have a permanent injury.