Types of Workers' Compensation Benefits
When an employee is injured on the job, he or she is entitled to certain benefits. Generally, these benefits are covered under workers’ compensation benefits. While some benefits may differ from state to state, there are usually four different areas that are covered:
- Medical coverage
- Disability benefits
- Death Benefits
The biggest difference you will generally find (meaning from state to state) will be in the overall amount of benefits as well as how these benefits are provided.
Workers’ Compensation Medical Benefits
When an injury happens on the job and a proper claim is made, that employee will receive medical benefits to cover the treatment and therapy during recovery as a direct result of the injury. Everything from your doctor(s) fees, hospital care, nursing care, medical tests, therapy, medications, and medical equipment (such as a brace or crutches) will be covered.
Generally speaking, coverage of these benefits will have no maximum and you will not have to pay any co-pays or deductibles. While that is the case, the caveat is that you have to see workers’ compensation approved doctors as well as adhere to certain limitations on the care itself. For instance, the state may restrict physical therapy sessions to 20 per month.
Because each state has its own laws, treatments available in one state may not necessarily be available in another state. For instance, Colorado may cover some alternative treatment methods whereas that same treatment is not covered under Texas law.
Workers’ Compensation Disability Benefits
If a worker is partially, temporarily, or permanently disabled due to a work-related injury, Workers’ Compensation will also provide benefits based on the type of disability he or she is experiencing. These will usually fall into four different categories:
- Temporary Total – the worker cannot work at all, but only for a specific period of time. Benefits are paid out based on the pre-set percentage while the individual is out of work.
- Temporary Partial – the worker is unable to work full time for a specific period but can still report to work on a limited basis and for limited jobs. Benefits are paid out based on how much the employee is able to make. For instance, if you are making $20 an hour and are only able to work 10 hours a week, you would receive your $200 in salary from the employer plus a specific percentage of the remainder of the salary ($200 + X%($800)).
- Permanent Total – the worker is unable to ever return to work as a result of the injury. The worker will receive the mandated percentage of their salary until retirement age. For instance, if your state offers 66.67 percent and you were making $1,000 per week, you would receive $666.70 per week until retirement age.
- Permanent Partial – the worker has an injury that prevents them from returning to the same job and/or from earning the same income (such as a radio operator suffering hearing loss). Benefits in this category can be paid in two different categories: non-schedule and schedule. Schedule refers to specific body parts, such as an eye or limb. If the injury is listed on the schedule, benefits will be paid over a specific period for a specific amount per the schedule. For non-schedule injuries, benefits are calculated based on the current state law.
While this compensation may seem unfair due to the lower amounts compared to your usual compensation, keep in mind that Workers’ Compensation benefits are not taxable at the state or federal level. However, if you receive additional benefits, such as Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will have to pay taxes on a portion of that income.
Workers’ Compensation Rehabilitation Benefits
For workers that are unable to return to their normal jobs, Workers’ Compensation will usually offer some type of vocational training program for the individual to be able to secure work in the future. Additionally, if the individual has suffered some sort of mental work injury, psychological care may be included in these benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
When a worker is killed on the job, benefits paid are then forwarded to the worker’s spouse, minor children, and/or other dependents. Included in the death benefits are burial costs of the worker (there will generally be set limits on these costs per state rules).
Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
If you were recently injured on the job, you are entitled to compensation. Depending on the type of workplace and/or degree of negligence by your employer, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits or possibly have a personal injury case. Hiring a Workers’ Compensation attorney will better enable you to navigate through these waters to get the full compensation to which you are entitled.
If you would like to discuss your case, please give us a call at 855.633.0888. Your consultation is free of charge and you are under no obligation to use our legal services for discussing your case with one of our attorneys. If you would like to learn more about our legal services, please click here.