If you have been hurt on the job in California, you can apply for workers’ compensation benefits that will cover the cost of your medical care. You may also be eligible for temporary disability benefits that will cover at least some of the lost wages you experience as the result of your work injury. Eligibility for temporary disability benefits through workers’ compensation will depend on the severity of your injury and whether or not your injury prevents you from performing your normal work duties or at least earning the same amount of pay through modified work duties.
Eligibility for Temporary Disability in California
Injured workers can only collect temporary disability benefits if the work injury results in any of the following:
- An overnight hospitalization stay
- Three days or more of missed work
- A reduction in wages resulting from the inability to perform some work duties
The last possibility on the above list can happen when an employer offers injured workers different type of work to accommodate their injuries, but the replacement work pays a lower wage. In this situation, injured workers are eligible for temporary partial disability benefits. If the work injury leaves you unable to work at all, you are eligible for temporary total disability benefits during the time you cannot work.
Temporary Disability Benefit Amounts in 2021
Temporary disability benefits are typically two-thirds of lost income, with a weekly minimum level of $203.44 and a weekly maximum level of $1,356.43. If you are completely unable to work from your injuries, you will receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage (AWW). AWW encompasses more than just your wages; it also includes overtime, tips, bonuses, commissions, and the cash value of other perks provided by your employer. Side hustle earnings could also be counted towards AWW. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you ensure you have all of your income streams accounted for. If you are collecting any income after your injury, you would subtract that income from your AWW and multiply the result by two-thirds to determine your benefit level. Temporary disability benefits are not subject to any federal, state, or local income taxes, social security taxes, or union dues.
How Long Do Temporary Disability Benefits Last?
Temporary disability benefits from workers’ compensation will last until one of the following situations occur:
- Your treating doctor says you can return to work
- Your current wages exceed your AWW
- You have exhausted available benefits (104 weeks of benefits)
- Your treating doctor indicates that additional treatment will not help your recovery
In the last scenario, your doctor will declare your “permanent and stationary”, allowing you to receive permanent disability benefits.
The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth Can Help
If you have been injured at work, our workers’ compensation team can help you pursue the benefits that you are entitled to. Navigating the complex California workers’ compensation system is notoriously difficult to do alone, but our attorneys and specialists simplify the process, allowing you to focus on your recovery so you can get back to work. We offer free consultations for work injuries at 888-517-9888, so call us today.