An experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Anaheim will help injured workers obtain the benefits they deserve. In California, injured workers may receive temporary disability, permanent disability, and supplemental job displacement benefits.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Employees with an injury that prevents them from working as usual while they pursue medical treatment may qualify for temporary disability (TD) benefits. These benefits are paid if the worker loses wages because:
- The treating physician says the worker is unable to work as usual for more than three days a week
- The worker is hospitalized overnight
- The employer doesn’t offer other work that pays usual wages while the worker recovers from their injuries.
- Types of TD Benefits
Depending on the extent of injury, workers may receive temporary total disability (TTD) or temporary partial disability (TPD).
TPD is offered to employees who are able to continue doing some work while recovering. However, wages must be below a maximum limit set by law.
TTD is offered to employees who are unable to work at all while recovering.
- Amount of TD Benefits
Typically, TD benefits are two-thirds of the gross (pre-tax) wages the worker loses while they’re recovering from their injury. Workers cannot receive more than a maximum weekly amount or less than a minimum weekly amount, as set by law. Workers don’t pay any federal, state, or local income taxes on TD benefits. They also don’t pay union dues, Social Security taxes, or retirement fund contributions on TD benefits.
Calculating the exact amount of TD benefits a worker qualifies for can be complicated for those who:
- Had seasonal jobs
- Had fluctuating wages
- Had a second job when they were injured
- Earned additional income from tips, overtime, bonuses, and housing, clothing, or car allowances
- Were scheduled for a wage increase after their injury
- Received TD benefits for more than two years after the injury
TD benefits begin within 14 days of an employer learning that:
- The worker had a job injury or illness
- The treating physician says the injury is preventing the employee from returning to work
TD benefits are paid every two weeks for as long as the worker is eligible. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Anaheim will walk clients through the details of TD benefits payments and answer any questions they may have.
Permanent Disability Benefits
If the treating physician says a worker will never completely recover from their injuries or will always be limited in the type of work they can do, the worker may have a permanent disability (PD) and be eligible for PD benefits.
Workers don’t need to lose their job to qualify for PD benefits. But if they lose income due to a permanent disability, PD benefits may not cover 100% of the lost income.
- P&S Report
To obtain PD benefits, the treating physician must create a permanent and stationary (P&S) report. This report describes:
- The workers’ medical problems, such as movement limitations and pain level
- Future medical care needs
- Work restrictions
- The worker’s ability to return to their previous job
- How much of the disability is caused by the job and how much is caused by other factors (apportionment)
The P&S report will be sent to the claims administrator. The worker is entitled to a copy of the report, as well. It’s important to carefully read the report to ensure the doctor’s statements align with the worker’s physical condition. Any questions or concerns should be brought to the attention of the physician. Incorrect or missing information could lead to loss of benefits.
Workers who disagree with the report have a right to challenge it. A workers’ compensation attorney in Anaheim will help clients take the right steps to obtain a report that accurately reflects their condition and leads to fair benefits.
The extent of a worker’s permanent disability is determined by a rating, which is a percentage that estimates a worker’s disability in the workplace or their ability to earn a living. This rating will determine how much PD benefits a worker is qualified to receive.
The rating is based on multiple factors:
- The medical condition
- Date of injury
- Worker’s age when injured
- The occupation
- Multiplication by an adjustment factor
Workers with a 100% rating have a permanent total disability. This rating is rare. Most workers with a permanent disability have ratings between 5% and 30% (if injured before 2005).
A rating between 1% and 99% means the worker has a permanent partial disability.
Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits
Workers with a permanent partial disability may qualify for a supplemental job displacement benefit (SJDB).
This benefit is a voucher that helps injured workers pay for educational retraining, skill enhancement, or both, at eligible schools. Workers can use the voucher to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, tools, professional certification fees, examination fees, exam preparation course fees, and other educational expenses required by the school.
Up to $600 of the voucher can be used to pay for a vocational or return-to-work counselor, the services of a licensed placement agency, and resumé preparation. Workers can use up to $1,000 of the voucher for computer equipment and up to $500 can be used for miscellaneous expenses without receipts or other documentation.
Regardless of the permanent disability rating, the voucher is redeemable up to $6,000.
- Securing SJDB
Workers must receive SJDB from the claims administrator if:
- The injury causes permanent partial disability
- The employer doesn’t offer regular, modified, or alternative work within 60 days of receipt of the “Physician’s Return-to-Work & Voucher Report”
The voucher expires two years after it is provided or five years after the date of injury, whichever is later. Workers must submit receipts and other documentation of expenses before the expiration date.
The Best Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Anaheim
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney is a trusted guide through the complex legal system in California. Thomas F. Martin, PLC has helped many injured workers secure the benefits and compensation they deserved.
As an award-winning workers’ compensation attorney, Martin has proved the depth of his expertise and commitment to supporting injured workers. Whether that’s navigating the court system, applying for benefits, or overcoming legal obstacles, Martin is the attorney every injured worker in Anaheim needs to fight on their behalf.