Will Workers Compensation Pay My Lost Wages?
When you suffer a serious injury at work, it affects your life in many different ways. One of the ways it often affects you is with your job. Your injury and the limitations that result from it may keep you out of work.
The Georgia workers compensation system was set up to provide certain types of benefits when people suffer injuries on the job. One of the three primary benefits that workers compensation pays is a benefit that replaces part of your lost wages when your injury keeps you out of work.
What are the lost wage benefits called?
There are two types of lost wage benefits that you can receive under Georgia’s workers compensation laws. The first type is temporary total disability, and the second type is temporary partial disability. Often, people refer to these benefits by their abbreviations – TTD and TPD.
Temporary total disability benefits (TTD) is what workers compensation pays you when you are completely out of work as a result of your injury. Temporary partial disability (TPD) is what workers compensation pays you when you are working but making less money as a result of your injury.
How much do I receive in lost wages?
The important thing to understand is workers’ compensation does not pay your full lost wages. If you receive temporary total disability benefits, they are based on what you were making in the three months before you got hurt.
The average of what you earned during those three months before your injury is known as your average weekly wage. But, workers compensation only pays you two-thirds of that average weekly wage. So, you do not receive your full lost wage benefits. You receive basically two-thirds of your lost wages.
Is there a maximum workers compensation lost wage benefit amount?
Yes. There is a maximum total temporary disability benefit rate in Georgia workers compensation cases. Currently in 2018, that maximum benefit rate is $575 per week.
That maximum temporary total disability rate may change in the future for people who are injured at later dates. Also, for people who were injured before July 1, 2016, the maximum rate will be lower.
The maximum benefit rate basically means that many people receive less than two-thirds of their wages when they are injured. This can make it very difficult to get by.
Do my temporary total disability benefits increase?
No. Your temporary total disability benefits do not increase. This is another way that workers compensation does not really compensate you for your full lost wages.
There is no cost of living adjustment in workers compensation cases. If you had continued working, you probably would have received a raise at some point. You might have been promoted to a different position that would have paid you more money. Unfortunately, Georgia’s workers compensation system does not take that into account.
When do I receive the lost wage benefits?
You receive lost wage benefits when your injury causes you to lose wages. If your injury takes you totally out of work for some time, you receive temporary total disability benefits. If you can perform some sort of work but do not earn as much as you made before you got hurt, you should receive temporary partial disability benefits
Just like there is a maximum benefit rate for temporary total disability, there is also a maximum benefit rate for temporary partial disability benefits. The current maximum benefit rate in 2018 is $383 per week.
If you want more information about temporary partial disability benefits, you can find a more complete discussion of them in this article.
Are there time limits on how long I can receive the lost wage benefits?
Yes. Georgia’s workers compensation laws do place limits on how long you can receive these benefits. In most cases, the maximum time period is 400 weeks from your date of injury for temporary total disability and 350 weeks from your injury for temporary partial disability.
These time limits do not apply in all cases. There are exceptions that could potentially allow you to draw benefits past these limits.
What if I want more information?
I am happy to set up a time to talk to you if you would like more information or have questions. Just call our office at (770) 214-8885 or complete and submit this form to set up a time.
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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