Workers Comp Temporary Disability Benefits/
A serious workplace injury or job-related illness can leave you sidelined for weeks or months. In Florida, you will likely be entitled to collect workers’ comp temporary disability benefits, since most employers are required to carry coverage for full- and part-time employees. Temporary disability benefits provide for no-cost medical care as well as payments to offset your wage losses.
Eligible Florida workers can get temporary disability benefits if an injury will require restriction or limitations on job duties. This decision is made by an approved physician, who provides written orders after your diagnosis. For example, a restriction may limit you to a desk job or prevent you from engaging in physically rigorous labor for a period of time. Or, your doctor may require you to be out of work entirely until an injury heals.
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There are two categories of Workers’ Compensation temporary disability benefits that provide for wage recovery:/
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
Workers categorized for TPD are eligible to return to work in a restricted duty capacity. The employer may or may not accommodate the injury with a temporary “light duty” job.
If your employer can provide you with a restricted job and you will earn 80% of your usual average weekly wage (AWW), you are not eligible for supplemental workers’ comp payments. But, if you are temporarily injured and your employer does not provide any type of work accommodations, you can collect 64% of your AWW from the workers’ comp insurance provider.
If you go back to work but earn less than 80% of your AWW, the insurance carrier must provide TPD payments to make up some of the difference. The TPD in these cases pays 80% of the loss. For example, a worker who normally makes $800 a week should receive 80%, or $640 a week for light duty. If he only earns $400 for restricted work, there is a $240 weekly shortfall. TPD would pay 80% of this shortfall, or $192 a week.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
If you are diagnosed with TTD, you likely have a serious injury requiring significant recuperation time at home. In this case, you are eligible to receive two-thirds of your AWW during your recovery period, capped at a legal maximum (currently $917 per week in Florida). For catastrophic injuries, such as paralysis, the benefit rises to 80% of AWW for six months, with no maximum wage ceiling.
TTD wage benefits start on the eighth day of missed work. However, if you miss more than 21 days of work, you should be retroactively paid for the first seven days out.
Duration of Workers' Compensation Benefits/
The duration of workers’ compensation wage loss benefits depends upon the authorized medical provider’s professional opinion. For TPD or TTD in Florida, the doctor can limit your work status for up to 260 weeks. (This was recently extended from a norm of 104 weeks. In 2016, the Florida Supreme Court ruled it is unconstitutional to prematurely cut off benefits for someone who is disabled and has not yet reached maximum medical improvement.)
TTD payments can continue until the first of three potential events occurs:
- The doctor determines you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI)
- You are released to return to work
- You reach the maximum time allotted for payment of temporary disability benefits.
If it is determined that your injury is a permanent total disability (PTD), meaning you are permanently unable to perform appropriate work within 50 miles of your home, you become eligible for further benefits. PTD payments provide for 100% of AWW and can continue for a lifetime. In these cases, you can negotiate to receive a lump sum or regular payments.
Pursuing a Disability Claim/
If you are seriously harmed by a job-related accident or condition, you must navigate the workers’ compensation claims process to ensure you receive your full benefit entitlement. It is important to fully document your symptoms and ensure a proper diagnosis. Whether you are partially or completely at fault for an accident is not of consequence here. When you are covered by workers’ compensation, “fault” is not an issue.
It is common to experience complications in a workers’ compensation claim. Injured workers are often asked to return to work before they are physically ready.
In many cases, the right thing to do is talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer. Seeking legal assistance for a temporary or permanent work-related disability is the best way to ensure you receive the full benefits you deserve.
Contact An Experienced Attorney at Feldman Legal Group/
The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Feldman Legal Group offer counsel and representation for Florida and Georgia employees. If you have experienced a job-related disability, please contact our firm today for a free assessment.