Your employer’s workers compensation insurance company pays checks when you are out of work because of your injury. But, many people have questions about when these checks will start and how often they will get paid. Some of the frequent questions I get asked are:
- Does the insurance company pay checks at the same frequency that you receive paychecks from your employer?
- Will you always get your workers compensation check on the same day of the week?
- How long does the insurance company have before they pay you the first check?
The answers to these questions are very important. You depend on workers compensation when you get hurt and cannot work. These checks support you and your family while you recover from your injury. In this article, I will address these questions and some others that people have about workers compensation checks.
How long does the insurance company have to start my checks?
In Georgia workers compensation cases, the insurance company has 21 days from the date you become disabled to start paying you checks for your lost wages. This time period was put into place to give the insurance company time to investigate your case before starting your checks.
Nothing requires the insurance company to wait the full 21 days. Sometimes, they will start paying checks sooner.
Also, insurance companies sometimes take more than 21 days to start paying checks. If they take more than 21 days, they should owe late penalties on your checks when they issue them.
Do I get paid for all dates I am out of work?
Not necessarily. Georgia has a one week waiting period. This means you do not get paid for your first week out of work.
The insurance company does have to go back and pay you for the first week out of work if you miss three consecutive weeks out of work at some point. So, many people do end up getting paid for the waiting period if their injury keeps them out of work for at least a few weeks.
How often does the workers compensation insurance company pay checks?
Georgia’s workers compensation law requires the insurance company to issue your checks weekly. Even if your paychecks from your employer were on a different schedule, the insurance company should be sending your workers compensation checks weekly.
I have seen situations where checks were sent every two weeks before. If this is happening, you can contact the insurance company to make them send the checks weekly.
Will I always get my checks on the same day of the week?
No. The law does not require insurance companies to issue checks on a certain day. It only requires them to issue and mail your check before a certain time. When the insurance company has to mail the check depends on whether they are sending your check from Georgia or somewhere else.
If the insurance company does not issue your checks on time, they should owe you late penalties. This article I wrote has more information about when the checks have to be issued and how late penalties work.
How is my workers compensation check amount determined?
Your workers compensation check amount is based on your lost wages. But, workers compensation does not pay you your full lost wages. It pays two-thirds of your lost wages.
In most situations, your check is two-thirds of your “average weekly wage”. Your average weekly wage is usually determined by looking at your average earnings in the three months before you got hurt. Take a look at this article for some more detailed information about how the check amount is determined.
Will my check always be the same amount?
Your check amount can change. There are two main reasons your check amount might change.
The insurance company did not calculate your average weekly wage correctly
Sometimes, the insurance company calculates your check amount incorrectly. If this happens, you or an attorney representing you can get the insurance company to correct the check amount. If this happens, you should get backpaid for any underpayment in benefits once the amount is correct.
Your benefit type changes
Your check amount can also change if the type of workers compensation check you are receiving changes. The most common way this happens is when you go from temporary total disability benefits to temporary partial disability benefits. This happens for two main reasons:
- You go back to work at a light duty job but you are making less money than you were before you got hurt
- A Form WC-104 is filed and kicks in and your check is reduced to temporary partial disability
Any time your check amount changes you will want to know why it changed. I see many situations where the insurance company changes check amounts incorrectly.
When will my workers compensation checks stop?
This really depends. There are a number of different events that can cause your check to stop. I wrote an article about this topic that should be helpful in letting you know how long your checks will probably continue.