Temporary partial disability benefits should be paid when you are back at work but making less money than you did before your on the job injury. This article explains when temporary partial disability benefits are owed and how the amount of temporary partial disability benefits is calculated.
Situations Where Temporary Partial Disability Benefits Should Be Paid
After an injury, you may return to work making less money than you did before you got hurt. Several different factors can cause this to happen. The two most common ways that your injury can cause you to make less money are:
- Your doctor restricts the number of hours you can work as a result of your injury
- Your doctor places restrictions on you and those restrictions force you to take a job that pays less per hour
When you are back at work but making less money because of your injury, your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance company should pay you temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits on a weekly basis. These benefits are the way that you are compensated for your partial wage loss.
Amount of Temporary Partial Disability You Should Receive
So, how much temporary partial disability will you receive? In order to calculate this, you will need to compare your wages after returning to work (your post injury wage) to your average weekly wage in your workers’ compensation claim (your preinjury wage).
The temporary partial disability benefits will be two-thirds of the difference between these two numbers (subject to a maximum of $450 per week if your date of injury is after July 1, 2019 or a lesser maximum rate if your injury is before then).
Let’s look at an example. Assume you had an average weekly wage at the time of your work injury of $700 per week (preinjury wage). Also assume that you earned $400 per week when you returned to a lower paying light duty job after your injury (post injury wage).
Since the difference in your preinjury wage and your postinjury wage is $300 per week, you should receive temporary partial disability of two-thirds of that $300 difference. Since two-thirds of $300 is $200, you would receive $200 per week in temporary partial disability benefits in this example.
How often does the insurance company pay Temporary Partial Disability benefits?
Temporary partial disability benefits can be especially confusing because the amounts can change each week. They can also be confusing because State Board Rule 262 give your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance company the choice of two different ways to determine the amount of temporary partial disability you are due per week:
- Week by week
- Every thirteen weeks
Regardless of which method your employer chooses, they should still pay you temporary partial disability benefits on a weekly basis. The only difference between the two methods is whether they recalculate the amount each week or every thirteen weeks.
Some employers and insurance companies screw this part up and do not pay you weekly. Others use the thirteen week method and pay you weekly but do not adjust for any underpayment or overpayment at the end of each thirteen week period. You need to be diligent to make sure the insurance company pays temporary partial disability correctly.
Time limits on temporary partial disability benefits
Generally, you receive temporary partial disability benefits when you can work but are making less money because of your injury. However, Georgia law does limit how long you can receive these benefits.
You can only receive temporary partial disability benefits for 350 weeks after your date of injury. This may seem like more than enough time. It is for most injuries.
But serious injuries that cause permanent restrictions often make it very difficult to return to work. In these situations, 350 weeks may not be long enough.
Other events cause temporary partial disability benefits to stop
One reason temporary partial disability benefits stop is a release to return to full duty work without restrictions. If your authorized treating physician releases you without restrictions, the insurance company will be able to stop paying you temporary partial disability benefits.
There are other events that can cause your temporary partial disability benefits to stop as well. If you get a raise, your earnings may increase. This increase can reduce your temporary partial disability benefits or stop them.
Many insurance companies just do not pay temporary partial disability benefits correctly. If you are back at work on light duty, I would recommend talking to an attorney to find out if the insurance company is paying what they should be.
Some people worry that it will cost a lot to talk to a workers’ compensation attorney. I provide free consultations in workers’ compensation claims. This consultation helps you decide if you need an attorney.
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Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers. He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.
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