If you are injured on the job, Workers Compensation benefits are there to make sure you keep getting paid while you recover. There are many types of benefits that apply in all sorts of situations. However, the most common type of wage replacement benefits is Temporary Total Disability. This is also described as Section 34 benefits, which is a reference to the statute that establishes the benefits.
Temporary Total Disability is just that: benefits for those who cannot work because of a work injury, but will be able to get back to work eventually. These are benefits intended to give you a cushion while you recover. Whether it’s a twisted ankle or a broken arm, temporary total disability gives you the financial freedom to focus on your recovery so you can get back to work.
Even though these Workers Compensation benefits are straightforward, insurance companies rarely pay voluntarily. Workers Compensation lawyers are often needed to get even basic benefits. Even workers who are getting weekly checks can find that an experienced Workers Compensation lawyer can be helpful in making sure that they’re getting all the benefits available. More importantly, a lawyer will be able to make sure that if the insurance company terminates your benefits, you’ll be ready to file a claim as soon as possible.How Much Will I Be Getting?
Total Disability benefits are based upon your earnings in the year before your injury. The first step is to calculate your average weekly wage. In short, this is the average how much you’ve earned in the 52 weeks before your injury. It can include earnings from multiple jobs. If you only worked part of the year, it’s important to correctly calculate your average. Sometimes it’s appropriate to only consider the weeks that you worked. Other times, your earnings are stretched over the full 52 weeks.
After you determine your average weekly wage, your benefits will be 60% of that number. So if you earned $1,000 per week before taxes, you will get $600 per week in Section 34 benefits. An attorney will be able to not only make sure that you’re getting your check every week, but the attorney will also ensure that you’re getting the right amount.
At first glance, you will wonder how you will be able to pay your bills while only getting 60% of what you earned before. However, there is a silver lining: the benefits aren’t taxed. While you will likely receive less than your normal paycheck, it will likely be more than 60% of what your take home pay was when you were working.How Long Can I Get Benefits?
You can get Section 34 benefits for as long as three years, or 156 weeks. This is true even if you are totally disabled for more than 3 years. After that, you have two options. What most people do is then transition to Partial Disability benefits. This transition is easy, as it’s another temporary benefit that most people will qualify for. However, the amount of this benefit is less than Total Disability benefits. In fact, it is capped at 75% of your Section 34 rate. So, if you were receiving $600 per week while you were on total disability, you will only receive $450 per week once you transition to Partial Disability.
The other option is to try to apply for Permanent and Total Disability Benefits. While these benefits will give you a check in the same amount as your Section 34 benefits, they are much more difficult to receive. You will need to prove that you will be unable to work at all for the rest of your life. Because of this large hurdle, very few people qualify for these benefits.Experienced Workers Compensation Attorneys
Whether you were injured two weeks ago or two years ago, it’s important to have an experienced Lowell Workers Compensation attorney. The insurance company will be looking for any reason to terminate or deny your benefits. You will need a Lowell lawyer to ensure that your benefits don’t suddenly stop when you need them the most.
At Marcotte Law Firm, our Lowell Workers Compensation lawyers have decades of experience representing injured workers and guiding them through the Workers Compensation process. Our lawyers know that you can’t wait to get your benefits, and we do everything in our power to get you benefits as quickly as we can.
If you are an injured worker that can’t go back to work, call the attorneys at Marcotte Law Firm for a free consultation.