If you’re injured at work, it can impact all aspects of your life, including your career and finances. It feels like a double-edged sword: you’re dealing with the recovery costs from the work injury and the injury leaves you unable to continue working as you were before. Thankfully, in the State of Georgia, most employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance meant to provide benefits that help you get back on your feet.
One of those benefits is the total temporary disability. This article will cover the specifics of this benefit, how it can help you, and how it compares to other types of benefits under workers comp.
How Do Total Temporary Disability Benefits Work?
In Georgia, total temporary disability benefits pay workers whose injuries prevent them from working for more than seven days. If you are approved for total temporary disability benefits, you’ll receive a weekly pay at two-thirds of the average you were receiving before you were injured—up to a certain weekly cap.
The workers’ compensation benefits cap is updated every July. As of July 2017, that weekly cap is still $575 per week. Depending on the details of your injuries, you may be able to receive this benefit for up to 400 weeks—or until you reach “maximum medical improvement,” if it happens sooner.
Maximum medical improvement means a doctor has determined your injury or condition has improved as much as it can through treatment. When this happens, you would then be evaluated for a possible permanent disability.
Temporary Partial Versus Total Temporary Disability
Total temporary disability benefits are not the only type of benefits you can receive through workers comp. If you are still able to work after your injury because are earning less than you normally would, you may be eligible for temporary partial disability.
This benefit provides two-thirds of the difference between what you were making before and then after your injury.
Here’s an example:
- Before the injury, you made an average of $500 per week.
- But your injury now prevents you from doing certain types of work, so you are earning an average of $200 per week.
- The difference is $300 per week. With temporary partial disability benefits, you would receive two-thirds of that difference, which is $200.
The Georgia weekly cap for temporary partial benefits is $383 per week (as of July 2017). You might be able to receive those benefits until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement or until 350 weeks have passed—whichever occurs first.
Permanent Versus Temporary Disability Benefits
Once you’ve completed as much treatment as you can for your injuries, you’ll be evaluated for a permanent disability. This would mean you are fully disabled because of your work injury and can no longer perform work in the field you were trained.
If the doctor finds you do have a total and permanent disability, there won’t be an end to the payments you receive (like with temporary disability benefits). You’ll receive weekly payments for the rest of your life at the same rate.
Injuries that qualify as permanent total disabilities are extreme, such as loss of limb or loss of sight. What qualifies can also depend on your former career field and the actions you are now unable to perform.
Permanent Partial Disability
The other type of permanent disability (and the most common workers’ comp case) is a permanent partial disability. This means a worker can no longer perform their job at full capacity. They are permanently impaired, and will receive benefits for it, but the disability is partial and they can still perform some work.
How to Apply for Total Temporary Disability Benefits
Workers compensation was set up specifically to protect the rights of injured workers and help them if they are hurt on the job. Therefore, you are entitled to access to these benefits as soon as you start working with your employer. This includes disability benefits if you can’t work as well as reimbursement for medical costs.
To get total temporary disability benefits or any other workers comp benefits:
- You’ll need to tell your employer about your injury within 30 days. We recommend doing it as soon as possible.
- Then, you’ll need to file a workers compensation claim.
Many workers choose to work with a Georgia workers compensation lawyer to help them to file their claim. That’s because, unfortunately, the system can easily get complicated.
The insurance company providing your employer’s workers comp policy can look for ways to pay out less than you deserve, such as unfairly denying or delaying your case. Sometimes doctors can even clear employees to work far before they’re ready. It’s best to work with a professional who understands the rules and regulations around workers comp benefits and what you’re eligible to receive.
Were You Left Unable to Work Because of Work Injury?
At John Foy & Associates, we can help you if you’ve been injured at work and can no longer continue working as you were before.
We have more than 20 years of experience helping injured workers file claims and get the money they need to recover. Our attorneys understand the complexities of workers comp benefits, and we’re here to answer your questions with a FREE consultation. To get started with your free consultation today, call us any time at 404-400-4000 or fill out the online form on this page.