One of the primary Georgia workers compensation benefits is a weekly check when your injury keeps you out of work. This check is known as temporary total disability benefits. It is meant to replace a portion of your lost wages.
You can also receive other types of weekly checks from the insurance company known as temporary partial disability or permanent partial disability. Unfortunately, weekly workers compensation checks do not always come on time. So, what happens when the insurance company is late getting you weekly checks?
What are the rules about when the insurance company has to send my weekly check?
To understand about late weekly checks, it is helpful to understand the rules the state of Georgia has put in place about when weekly workers compensation checks must be paid. The first thing to know is that almost all checks are paid weekly. This means that your check will have a one week pay period.
Your workers compensation check should state on it what one week period it is paying you for. For instance, a check might say that it is paying you for 9/1/18 to 9/7/18. This means that the next weekly check after that one should pay you for 9/8/18 to 9/14/18.
The rules about when your check must be paid depend on whether the company is mailing your weekly check from within Georgia or outside of Georgia.
What is the rule if my check is mailed from within Georgia?
If the insurance company mails your check from within Georgia, they have to mail it by the last day that that check is paying you for. So, if they are mailing you a check for 9/1/18 to 9/7/18, they have to put it in the mail properly addressed and with proper postage by 9/7/18.
So, if your check comes from inside Georgia, you can always know that the last date of the weekly pay period is important for you to know because the insurance company should mail the check by that day. Once the check is in the mail, whatever happens with it is not their responsibility. But it is their responsibility to get it in the mail on time with proper postage and properly addressed.
What if the insurance company is mailing my weekly check from another state?
Many insurance companies mail checks from outside of Georgia. There are many insurance companies that do business nationwide.
The rule is different when the insurance company mails your check from another state. Since it will likely take longer to get to you, Georgia law requires them to mail your check three days earlier.
Let’s consider the example I used above about a weekly check paying for 9/1/18 to 9/7/18. If this check is mailed from outside of Georgia, the insurance company would need to mail it by 9/4/18. This would be three days before the end of the pay period for that check.
Shouldn’t I always get my check on the same day of the week?
I speak to many people who run into the issue of not getting their check the same day of the week each week. Since the weekly workers compensation check is paying for lost wages, you would expect it to work like a paycheck which you always receive on the same day of the week.
Unfortunately, Georgia’s workers compensation law does not work that way. An insurance company only has a duty to mail your check by a certain date each week. Some weeks they might mail it a little early. Other weeks they might barely mail it on time.
Also, you have to factor in what the post office does with your check. Sometimes, they may get it to you the next day. Other times, it might take them a few days to get you your check.
Are there things that can be done to make sure I receive my check on time?
While you cannot force the insurance company to send your check on a certain date, there are things you can do to make it more likely that your check will show up on time.
Direct deposit of your check can improve the chances that you get your check on time. Direct deposit takes the post office out of the picture. This means you do not have to worry about the post office taking a long time to get you your check or just losing it completely.
Unfortunately, Georgia law does not require insurance companies to offer direct deposit. But, many insurance companies do offer it. If you want your check direct deposited, you or your attorney can contact the insurance company to find out if it is an option and start the process.
Scheduled or repetitive pay
Scheduled or repetitive pay is a computer software option that almost all insurance companies have. This option allows the insurance company to automatically schedule a check for you each week without the adjuster having to manually enter the week check.
If the adjuster is manually ordering a weekly check, the adjuster may sometimes forget to enter the check or may enter it on different days. This could contribute to your check being late or coming on a different day of the week. Scheduled or repetitive pay can reduce the likelihood of that happening.
Can the insurance company change the day it sends my checks?
Yes. The law does not require them to send it on a certain day or to keep sending it on that same day. Georgia law just requires them to mail it out by a certain day.
This means that the insurance company might mail your check early one week. The next week, they might wait until the absolute last day to mail it.
Insurance companies can pay a check early if they want to. As long as they mail it by the deadline, they do not owe you a late penalty. If they do not mail by the deadline though, they will owe you a late penalty.
How can I know if my check is late?
There are a couple good ways to check about whether a check is late or not. But, remember that you are going to need some information first:
- Is the check coming from inside or outside of Georgia?
- What is the weekly pay period for the check?
- When was the check mailed?
You should be able to determine where the check was mailed from by looking at the return address or the postmark on the envelope. I expect that all of your checks will be mailed from the same place.
You usually determine the weekly pay period by looking at the check or the check stub. One or both should include information showing what pay period the check is paying for.
But, you also need to know when the check was mailed. You can determine this in a couple of different ways.
First, look at the issue date of the check. The check could not have been mailed before it was issued, so if the issue date would make the check late then you know it was mailed late.
Second, check the envelope for a postmark. If the postmark date on the envelope is after the date it should have been mailed, they you know the check was mailed late.
What can I do if the insurance company pays me late?
If they do not mail the check on time, then they owe you a late penalty for that check of 15 percent. You or your attorney should be able to get the insurance company to issue this penalty.
Sometimes, the insurance company may contest the penalty. If they do, you or your attorney may need to file a motion or request a hearing to get the penalty paid. A judge may assess attorney’s fees against the insurance company for failing to pay the penalties.