This series is meant to answer the most common questions our workers’ compensation attorneys get asked by our clients. If you are a worker who was injured on the job, you most likely have many questions. Check out this series to get your questions answered. Read previous entries in the series by following the links below:
How Long Do I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
There are multiple types of benefits you can receive under Minnesota Workers’ Compensation. How long you may be able to receive benefits depends on the type of benefits you are seeking.
When my clients ask how long they will receive benefits, they are most commonly referring to wage loss benefits. These are the benefits that help cover wage losses due to your work injury. Reasons you may have wage losses can include time you are completely off work or only working a portion of your regular hours. You could also qualify for wage loss benefits if you are working a lower paying position due to your work injury.
Minnesota’s workman’s comp does not provide indefinite wage loss benefits. Injured workers can only receive benefits for a limited amount of time. The exact duration depends on the type of wage loss you have.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
Temporary total disability (TTD) are available when you are totally unable to work because of your work injury. Usually, your doctor will tell you not to work for a specific period of time. Temporary total disability benefits may also apply if your doctor has given you light duty restrictions, but your employer will not allow you to come back to work until you are fully healed.
For injuries sustained after 2008, you may receive up to 130 weeks of temporary total disability unless you have a retraining plan. Whether you are an injured worker entitled to the maximum amount of TTD depends on the specific facts of your case.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
Temporary partial disability (TPD) are wage loss benefits that apply when you are making some wages but you are making less than you were before your injury. This could occur because your workplace injury is causing you to work fewer hours than you were pre-injury or because you are earning less per hour.
If you have a wage loss immediately after your injuries and if your injury occurred after 1992, you may be eligible for up to 225 weeks of temporary partial benefits. Just like with TTD benefits though, whether you will receive the maximum amount of benefits depends on your specific situation.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits are available to injured workers who can never return to gainful employment. Because injured workers receiving PTD by definition can never return to gainful employment, the maximum duration of benefits works differently than with other workman’s compensation wage loss benefits.
Permanent total disability benefits are presumed to end at the time you reach 67 years old. This is because Minnesota workers’ compensation laws presume that you will retire at 67 and, therefore, you have no more wage loss. However, this is only a presumption. A good lawyer may be able to extend the duration of your benefits past age 67.
Am I Automatically Entitled to the Maximum Benefit?
In short, no. Injured workers are not automatically entitled to the maximum amount of wage loss benefits.
For example, an employee may be injured at work and make a complete recovery within 6 weeks. The employee also returns to work without any restrictions and earns the same wages as he or she did before the injury. This would not automatically entitle him or her to 130 weeks of TTD or 225 weeks of TPD because there was no more wage loss after 6 weeks.
Your benefits may be “cut off” for multiple reasons before you reach the maximum allowance for any of the following reasons:
- The injured worker returns to work at pre-injury wages
- The employee’s doctor removes all restrictions,
- The employee reaches maximum medical improvement
However, even a circumstance that looks cut and dry may have unique facts that mean an injured employee is entitled to more benefits than what the workers’ compensation insurance company is claiming.
What Can Workers’ Compensation Do For Me?
All of these benefits may be available to you depending on your injury and circumstances. Remember that this is just a general overview, so there are additional benefits and restrictions to these benefits that we have not discussed in this article.
If this overview has brought concerns to your attention about your workers’ compensation claim or you believe you are not receiving the workers comp benefits you should be receiving, we encourage you to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Our Minneapolis attorneys have extensive experience in handling workman’s compensation claims and are available to discuss your case. To speak with an attorney on the workers’ compensation team at Heimerl & Lammers, contact us at 612.294.2200.
[IMPORTANT NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER: Current as of 02/17/2016. Because workers’ compensation law changes frequently, please note that this information is only current as of the date listed here. This blog is not intended to be comprehensive. It is only for educational purposes and provides a very broad overview. It is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. By using this website, you agree to these terms. We highly suggest that any injured employee contact a licensed attorney in your state immediately for a thorough investigation into your personal situation.]