Oregon Workers’ Compensation rules set out the requirements for temporary total disability and temporary partial disability. These two benefits are designed to compensate an injured worker for wage loss due to an on-the-job injury. I often refer to these benefits as “time loss.” There are a lot of rules that govern the timing and amount of temporary total disability payments.
The first thing to know is that even if your claim is in “deferred status,” you are still entitled to temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits to the extent that your “attending physician” has authorized you to be off work. The “attending physician” is the medical provider that directs your medical care. There have been some recent changes on who can act as an attending physician on an accepted claim, and for how long.
Here are some other recent facts on temporary total and temporary partial disability:
- You must be a member of the work force in order to receive these benefits. There are even special rules about full-time students, and whether they are a member of the work force.
- Authorization from a medical provider can be oral or written. When there is an issue about whether you should have been paid wage replacement benefits at claim closure, the State of Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division can infer authorization for you to be off work from the medical records.
- Insurance companies can suspend your temporary total disability benefit, but only if certain conditions are met, which includes your failure to attend a regularly-scheduled medical appointment.
- The amount of your temporary total disability benefit is determined by your “average weekly wage.” There is more than one way to calculate the average weekly wage, but generally, it is an average of weekly wages for the fifty-two weeks prior to the date of the injury.
- A physician may release you for partial work, and if that happens, you are entitled to “temporary partial disability.” This is calculated by subtracting your post-injury wage earnings from your average weekly wage, and then dividing the difference by the actual earnings to arrive at the percentage of lost wages. The insurance company then multiplies your current temporary total disability compensation rate by the percentage of lost wages.
- Supplemental Disability: READ THIS IF YOU WORK TWO JOBS. If you are working a second job at the time of your injury, you can claim to very total disability for the wages lost from your second job. However, the insurer must receive “verifiable documentation” of your second job within sixty days after you receive notice of the required information for the supplemental benefit.
Temporary Total Disability, or “time loss,” is often the lifeline for an injured worker while he or she is treating and recovering from an on-the-job injury. If you have questions about whether you are getting all the time loss benefits you deserve, call us at 503-325-8600. We help injured workers in Oregon every day.