If you or somebody you care about sustains a workplace injury or illness, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in California. The length of time individuals are allowed to receive workers’ compensation benefits varies depending on the situation surrounding the injury. Several factors can influence the length of time a person receives benefits, including the severity of the injury, how long a person is unable to work, and the level of any resulting disability.
The Workers’ Compensation Benefit Period
Workers’ compensation benefits will not last forever, but thankfully, they are designed to help injured workers receive the treatment they need. Any medical costs associated with the workplace injury or illness are covered through workers’ compensation benefits. These medical benefits will continue until the treating physician certifies that the injured worker has reached what is known as maximum medical improvement (MMI).
If a person reaches MMI, this means that the doctor believes that any further medical treatment is unlikely to improve the condition. Sometimes, this means a person has fully recovered, but not always. Some workplace injuries or illnesses will leave a person with a permanent deficit.
However, when we begin discussing income replacement, which is available through workers’ compensation, the timeline is not indefinite. In most situations, workers’ compensation benefits can be provided for 104 weeks. These 104 weeks do not have to be consecutive and can be spread out over the course of five years.
There are certain types of severe workplace injuries, such as lung diseases or catastrophic burns, that could receive authorization for up to 240 weeks of benefits.
How Much Compensation is Available?
Supplemental income available through workers’ compensation insurance does not provide 100% of a person’s pay. Rather, these policies typically provide 66-2/3% of a person’s typical wages. The state does apply maximum and minimum weekly payments available through workers’ compensation, although these numbers change each year based on inflation.
Importantly, any benefits a person receives through workers’ compensation are not taxed at either the state or federal level.
What About Long-Term Disability Pay?
Some workers’ compensation insurance policies allow workers to receive long-term disability (LTD) benefits if they sustain a permanent disability due to a workplace injury. These types of policies could last for a person’s entire life and provide a portion of their wages and cover their medical costs. However, state law does not require California employers to provide LTD policies, so this may not be available for every worker.
If a person does sustain a permanent workplace injury, they should pursue benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance.
Contact an Attorney if You Struggle to Receive Your Benefits
If you or somebody you care about are struggling to receive your benefits after sustaining A workplace injury, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled workers’ compensation lawyer in Riverside can help you with every aspect of your claim, including filing your initial injury claim, as well as handling any appeals with the workers’ compensation board.