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When Does Workers Compensation Stop?

Serious workers compensation injuries are life changing.  They affect your ability to work.  You need medical treatment to recover from your injury.

Recovering from a serious injury can take a long time.  In a perfect world, workers compensation would pay benefits as long as you needed them for your injury.  Unfortunately, the laws in Georgia have limits on how long workers compensation must pay you.

Understanding when your benefits should stop and when they should not is very important.  You can better prepare for the future when you know this.  It also helps you know whether the insurance company has properly stopped your workers compensation benefits or whether they should continue paying them.

Worried couple looking at bills What are the reasons that the insurance company can stop my workers compensation benefits?

There are three basic types of Georgia workers compensation benefits:

  • Wage loss benefits (temporary total disability or temporary partial disability)
  • Medical benefits
  • Permanent partial disability benefits

Each of these types of benefits has different rules for when the insurance company can stop paying them to you.

Wage loss benefits

The law has a few different ways that the insurance company can stop paying you benefits for wage loss.  One is when you return to work after an injury.  Your benefits stop when you return to work because you are earning wages from your employer.  If you are making less money than you were before you got hurt, you should probably receive temporary partial disability benefits.

Your wage loss benefits can also stop when your doctor says you can go back to work at full duty without restrictions.  The problem is that the doctor may say this when you are not really 100 percent better.  When this happens, it can make life extremely difficult because your workers compensation check gets stopped within a few days if the insurance company files the right paperwork.

A third way your check gets stopped is when you reach the limit on how long you can draw wage loss benefits.  For temporary total disability benefits, this time limit is 400 weeks (about 7.5 years) from your date of injury in most cases.  For temporary partial disability benefits, the time limit is 350 weeks (about 6.5 years) from your date of injury.

While these 350 and 400 week time limits sounds like a long time, serious injuries can often leave you with permanent limitations.  Sometimes, these limitations make it difficult for you to return to any type of work which means that these 350 and 400 week time limits become an issue.

There are other reasons that your wage loss benefits can stop as well such as refusing a suitable Form WC-240 light duty job offer or failure to cooperate with medical treatment (after the insurance company follows specific rules that allow them to seek suspension of your benefits).  Just know that you should never just accept that the insurance company properly stopped your benefits.  You should talk to an attorney to find out if your benefits were stopped properly.

Male doctor shows female patient xray of spine and back How can the insurance company stop my medical benefits?

Medical benefits include the workers compensation insurance company paying for medical treatment and testing you need for your injury with certain authorized doctors.  This medical treatment and testing helps you recover from your injury.   If you want to know more about medical treatment, this article has more detail about how medical treatment works under workers compensation.

There are two main ways the insurance company stops your medical benefits.  The first is when you reach the 400 week limit on medical treatment.  While there are exceptions, this 400 week limit applies in most cases if your injury occurred after July 1, 2013.

This limit means that the insurance company can usually stop paying for medical treatment 400 weeks after your injury occurs.  Unfortunately, many people continue to need treatment for their injury more than 400 weeks after their injury.

One other way that the insurance company stops paying for medical benefits is when the workers compensation doctor says you are better.  While this is not technically a limit on your medical benefits, it has the same effect by stopping you from getting medical treatment.  In this scenario, it is important to know that there are steps you can take to change your doctor or get a second opinion.  Doing this can help make sure you get the medical treatment you need.

Permanent partial disability benefits

Permanent partial disability benefits should get stopped when the payment of your permanent partial disability rating is completed.  The number of weeks of permanent partial disability you receive depends on the percent disability rating you receive from your workers compensation doctor.  This article has more information about permanent partial disability benefits including how the doctor determines your rating.

Businesswoman in office using calculator and laptop Why would the insurance company stop my benefits?

Paying you workers compensation benefits costs the insurance company money.  Like most business, insurance companies are for profit businesses which means one of their goals is to make money.  When the insurance company stops your workers compensation benefits, they save money.

This means that the insurance company will likely take actions to try to stop your workers compensation benefits.  This can be very frustrating when you are just trying to get the treatment you need to recover from your injury.

What should I do if the insurance company stops my benefits?

Contact a workers compensation attorney.  Anytime the insurance company stops your benefits, you need to make sure they did it properly and determine whether you can fight to get them restarted.

Speaking with an attorney will help you determine a couple of things:

  1. Can you fight the insurance company stopping your benefits
  2. If so, what is the best approach to take to try to get your benefits restarted

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

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.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

It took me probably too long to finally get a lawyer when my work comp claim started and I had no idea what I should do. I read reviews and upon recommendation of several people started the process of getting a lawyer. I am fortunate and lucky to have come across Perkins Studdard. Jason and his team has taken care of me since the moment I first called them and made sure any and all questions I had were answered as well as working hard to get me my settlement so I can continue receiving treatment. If you're looking for a good law firm to represent you in your worker's compensation case I would highly highly recommend this one.Autumn Fields
I highly recommend Perkins Law Firm. Throughout the whole process Perkins team kept me updated and explained everything very well. I am very pleased with their work. You will not be disappointed!!trina flornce
Mr. Perkins and team...Tina* they have all been so awesome. Always available to talk to me with any concerns. Kept me informed on my case all the way. Greatly appreciated!Missy Cherry
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team! -BrittneyBrittney-lee orourke
This law firm is very good at what it does the staff and the lawyer's that were involved with my case all were very perfesional and curious I couldn't ask for a better law firm I want to thank everyone for a great job thanks Les RyanLeslie Ryan
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.China Jones
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.Luv Locs
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law. They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns. I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls. I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.moombi
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.Dana Bess
Great staff and very knowlegable. They treat you like family and work hard to get you what you need. Highly recommended.Josh Carter

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Jason Perkins

Workers' Compensation Attorney

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