Workers’ Compensation law is complex and can be tricky to navigate. Even a quick glance at the frequently asked questions on the State of California’s Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) web page can be dizzying. That single page contains a huge amount of information about employer responsibilities, work restrictions, benefit guidelines, and medical care. Not only is it difficult to follow, it also requires serious note-taking just to keep track of all the acronyms.
At The Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates, we’ve helped hundreds of injured workers in San Diego, and we recognize how challenging it is just to make sense of it all. Below, we’ve simplified two important terms that you’ll need to understand as you set out to navigate the Workers’ Compensation system: temporary disability and permanent disability.
Please keep in mind that the following information is meant to give you a broad picture and that the specifics of each individual case will vary.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary disability (TD) benefits are payments you receive while recovering from an on-the-job injury. These payments are meant to replace lost income due to your inability to perform your usual job. If you cannot work at all while you recover, you will receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. If you cannot work your full schedule while you recover, you will received temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits.
Some things you need to know about TD:
Payments will begin when your doctor says you can’t perform your usual work for more than three days or when you are hospitalized overnight.
Payments will generally be two-thirds of the gross (pre-tax) wages you lose while you recover.
You will receive your payments every two weeks until you return to work or the doctor releases you for work – to a maximum of 104 weeks within a period of 5 years from the date of your injury.
Payments for long-term injuries such as severe burns or chronic lung disease can continue up to 240 weeks from the date of the injury.
Minimum and maximum weekly rates apply. Find them here: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/WorkersCompensationBenefits.htm
If your doctor says your injury has improved as much as it is going to, and you are still unable to perform your job, you may, at this point, become eligible for Permanent Disability (PD) benefits.
Permanent disability (PD) is any lasting disability that results in reduced earning capacity. PD is identified after a doctor determines that your injury has become Permanent and Stationary (P&S), meaning no change is likely.
If your on-the-job injury results in PD, you are entitled to PD benefits, even if you are able to go back to work.
PD benefits are limited. The amount you receive will be determined by your disability rating (determined by a rating specialist from the Disability Evaluation Unit), the date of your injury, and your average weekly wages before you were injured.
PD benefits should begin when your TD benefits end and your doctor indicates that you have permanent effects from the injury.
The claims administrator must begin making payments within 14 days after TD ends.
Your payments will come every two weeks until a “reasonable estimate of your disability amount” has been paid.
If payments are late, the claims administrator must pay you an additional 10 percent.
We’ll be there with you the whole way.
Is this all you need to know about how disability benefits work? No, it’s not. There’s much more to it. Navigating the world of workers’ compensation and disability law can take its toll on even the most patient among us.
We understand if you’re confused, frustrated, and at your wits’ end trying to go at this alone.
We can help you.
At Gerald Brody & Associates, we’ll guide you through the system from the moment you open your case all the way through your settlement. We’ll be by your side to review the rating of your disability, to challenge mistakes made in the evaluation process, or to help you obtain additional payment in the event of an unreasonable delay in your case. Whatever you need, we’ll be right there with you.
Our attorneys have a collective 45 years of experience helping injured workers get the maximum compensation for the on-the-job injuries they’ve sustained, wages they’ve lost, and medical expenses that have piled up along the way.
Give us a call. Let us be the difference between a long, frustrating struggle and an efficient, successful effort in which you receive the awards and benefits you’re entitled to.