Income Replacement Benefits in Workers Comp Cases
Everyone who is hurt on the job and unable to work wants to know what type of income benefits they can recover under their state’s Workers’ Compensation laws. The answer depends on several factors.
The first step is to usually calculate your “average weekly wage.” This is typically done by averaging the wages you received over the few months immediately prior to your injury. Often, depending on the circumstances, bonuses, tips, fringe benefits and even non-cash benefits may be appropriate to consider. Income from a second job which may qualify as “concurrent similar employment” might be used to increase your average as well. Once the average amount is established, the type of benefits must be determined.
Determining Gross Wages for Rate of Income Benefits
“Gross Wages” means the total amount of your pay, before deductions for taxes, social security, retirement plans, health insurance, etc. “Gross Wages” may also include taxable fringe benefits, such as the payment of some business expenses. If you’re supposed to pay income taxes on it, or if it comes out of your income and goes into a pre-tax retirement account such as a 401(K), it should be counted as “Gross Wages” under most states’ Workers Compensation law.
Income benefits are often defined like this – If the injured employee is out for more than just a few days, they can claim income benefits (sometimes called Temporary Disability benefits). Then, if the injured employee is out more than just a few days days, they will be compensated for the first few days as well. Weekly income benefits are paid at a slight reduction of the average weekly wage, not to exceed a certain amount each week. The employee is also entitled to compensation if they are still working but have suffered a wage loss. This is called Temporary Partial Disability.
How Long Do Benefits Last
These income-replacement benefits usually continue until a doctor has certified that you are capable of returning to work at full or reduced capacity, depending on whether your employer will or will not honor the doctors’ restrictions, if any.