Georgia’s workers compensation rules confuse many people. These rules become even more confusing when you go back to work after an injury.
Do your workers compensation benefits just stop when you get back to work? Many people with injuries go back to work even though they still have limitations. With serious injuries, these limitations can be permanent.
If you are back at work but your injury is not completely better, you need to understand whether you remain eligible for Georgia workers compensation benefits.
Can I receive Georgia workers compensation benefits when I am working?
Yes, you can receive workers’ compensation benefits after returning to work. There are several different types of workers compensation benefits available to you in Georgia.
One type of benefit that you can definitely receive after returning to work is medical benefits. Medical benefits are basically the workers compensation insurance company paying for the medical treatment that you need because of your injury.
Just because you return to work does not mean that you do not need any more medical treatment. If you continue to need medical treatment and you are treating with authorized doctors, the insurance company should continue paying for that treatment even after you return to work.
Can I get workers compensation checks after I go back to work?
Yes. You can continue to receive certain types of workers compensation checks when you work. In most cases, the checks that you receive when you are totally out of work will stop. Those checks are called temporary total disability benefits.
You should not receive temporary total disability benefits while working except in a very unusual situation called concurrent dissimilar employment. If you think you are working in concurrent dissimilar employment, I would definitely recommend that you talk to a workers compensation attorney because there can be civil and criminal penalties for working and receiving temporary total disability benefits.
Another type of workers compensation check you can receive after you return to work is something called temporary partial disability benefits. These are benefits that you receive when you are able to earn some money but not as much as you were before you were injured.
To receive temporary partial disability benefits, the reason that you are earning less money needs to be your workers compensation injury. The primary reason you should receive this benefit is if you have to work a light duty job that pays you less money. Another reason is that you have to miss work to get treatment for your injury.
Temporary partial disability benefits are one of the benefits that gets messed up most by insurance companies. When I talk to people who have returned to work and should probably be receiving to temporary partial disability benefits, most of the time they are not receiving them.
What about permanent partial disability benefits?
Permanent partial disability benefits are the third type of benefit you can receive while you are working. These benefits are paid to you based on a permanent partial impairment rating that your workers compensation doctor gives you. This article discusses permanent partial disability benefits in more detail.
Can I get temporary total disability benefits if I come out of work again?
Yes. While your temporary total disability benefits will probably stop while you are working, you may have to come out of work again at some point in the future. I see this situation happen often. Some of the common reasons that people have to come out of work after going back are:
- Their injury worsens to the point that they can no longer do the job
- They need a surgery that totally disables them from work temporarily
- Their employer stops providing them with suitable light duty work
When this happens, Georgia law allows you to receive temporary total disability benefits again if you can show that it is your work injury that is keeping you out of work. It is important that you be aware that there are deadlines that could prevent you from receiving benefits when you have gone back to work. This article discusses those deadlines.
I hope the information in this article helps you better understand some of what can happen when you return to work after a workers compensation injury. There are many other rules that you need to be aware of. Some of them are discussed in this article about light duty jobs.