Temporary disability benefits are an important aspect of the workers’ compensation system in California. These benefits are designed to help an injured worker who is unable to perform his or her job while they are recovering from their work-related injury.
The California workers’ compensation attorneys at Kneisler and Schondel have many years of experience fighting for benefits for injured workers. We handle many types of work injury cases, and we know what it takes to fight for the benefits you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim.
How Does Someone Become Eligible for Temporary Disability Benefits?
An employee becomes eligible for temporary disability benefits when he or she is injured at work and cannot work while they are in recovery for their injury.
In some cases, the injured workers’ treating physician will recommend a return to work but with certain restrictions, or modifications. When this happens, the employer has the option of accommodating the work restrictions by providing suitable work for the injured worker or not. Should the employer elect not to offer suitable work, the injured worker should receive temporary disability benefits.
Temporary Disability Benefits – How Much Will I Receive?
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits are paid out at two-thirds of your gross (pre-tax) average weekly wages. However, it is important to note that California imposes minimum and maximum weekly TTD rates, so under certain circumstances, one may receive less or more than two-thirds of their average weekly wage. For instance, when one is a very high wage earner or when one is a very low wage earner. Your attorney will be able to review your individual circumstances and advise whether or not your wages cause you to be eligible for the minimum or maximum rates. These benefits is that they are tax-free.
In some cases, your employer may be able to provide you with light duty work within your doctor’s work restrictions, but it pays a lower wage than you were making prior to your work injury. When this happens, your employer will owe you Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits. TPD benefits are paid out at a rate that is two-thirds of the difference between what you would normally be making (in the position you worked prior to your injury) and your wages for the new light-duty position your employer has provided.
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When Will I Start Receiving Temporary Disability Benefits?
If your work injury claim is accepted, you may start receiving temporary disability payments as soon as fourteen days after your injury. Payments are due once your employer has been made aware of your work-related injury and your treating physician has determined that you are unable to perform your usual job duties. The payment will be made from the insurance claims administrator and should be accompanied by a letter with an explanation of how your temporary disability benefit amount was calculated. After the first payment has been issued, you will receive additional TTD benefit payments every two weeks thereafter until your doctor has cleared you to return to work in some capacity.
If your claim has been denied, you will not automatically receive temporary disability benefits. At this stage in the process, it is a good idea to contact a workers’ compensation attorney to help you challenge this decision. It is important to act quickly so that you can start receiving the benefits you are entitled to as soon as possible.
If at any point in time the claims adjuster changes the benefit payment amount or elects to cut it off altogether, they are required to inform you in writing regarding the change and why they have made the change in benefits. This may happen in cases where continued medical care is challenged as being unnecessary.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding temporary disability payments in your California workers’ compensation case, contact our office today at (707) 542-5132 or fill out our online contact form. The attorneys at Kneisler and Schondel are ready to help you move forward with your case.