Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary Disability benefits are wage replacement benefits. We sometimes refer to these benefits as "time loss." There are a lot rules about when and how much of a wage replacement benefit you are entitled to, and when they can be terminated. The rules change frequently, but here are the basics:
- You are entitled to time loss benefits after you have been disabled from your job due to an on the job injury for at least three days
- You must have written authorization from your physician to qualify for time loss benefits
- If you withdraw from the work force, you are not entitled to time loss benefits
- Your doctor can retroactively authorize your disability, but there are time limits on how far back you can go to claim retroactive benefits.
You are entitled to time loss benefits even while the insurance company is investigating your claim to decide whether to accept or deny the claim. Again, you must have a doctor's note taking you off work.
After your claim is accepted, you are entitled to time loss as long as your doctor keeps you off work, and puts it in writing. Sometimes, you may be able to perform a modified job that provides for part time work. There is a process the employer and the insurance company must follow to make an offer of modified employment (think of a light duty job). If your modified job is part time, you are still eligible for a partial disability benefit, or partial time loss to cover the remaining hours you are missing because of your injury.
If You Quit Your Job
If you voluntarily leave your employment, you may still be entitled to time loss benefits if your doctor has you on limited duty, and you report your new earnings to the insurance company. If you are earning less than you would have been at your former job, you may still be able to recover partial disability benefits. If you do not report the new earnings, the insurance company is allowed to assume that you are making as much at your new job as you were at the job where you were injured.
If You Are Terminated
Generally, if you are terminated from your job, whether your time loss stops depends on when you were terminated, and why. If you are not terminated due to violation of a workplace rule, and your employer has a policy of offering modified work, then you still may be entitled to partial time loss benefits if you are released for a part time modified work. The insurance company will pay you for the time that you would have been able to work. If you violate a work place rule, however, it appears from the rules that you are out of luck.
The timing of termination is also important. If you go back to work on a light duty, or modified job, and then you are terminated, there is case law suggesting that you are no longer entitled to any time loss benefits. This is because you are not working for a reason other than your disability.
More Than One Job? (Read this if you were working two jobs when you were injured!)
If you are working more than one job at the time of your injury, you can claim time loss benefits for the wages lost from both jobs. However, you must notify the insurance company of your second job within thirty days of filing your initial claim.
Job Changes Affect Other Benefits
Changing jobs, resigning, or job termination also effects your eligibility for vocational benefits. If, after your medical care, you still cannot return to your job, and there are no other positions that pay a competitive wage within your limitations, you may be entitled to vocational benefits. This benefit can include job training and help starting a new career. But if you leave your job and go to work for another employer, you are no longer eligible for those benefits.
If you have a question, contact us. We have nearly 30 years of helping injured workers under our belt.