What are an injured employee’s rights to temporary disability payments just after the injury?
Temporary disability payments are often referred to as “TD.” TD payments are designed to financially assist you from lost wages when your injury prevents you from doing your usual job while recovering.
An injured employee’s rights to temporary disability generally fall within one of two different types. If you cannot work at all while recovering, you receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. If you can’t work your full schedule while recovering, you receive temporary partial disability benefit (TPD) payments.
In most cases, injured employee’s rights to temporary disability payments are for two-thirds of the gross (pre-tax) wages that the employee loses while recovering from a job injury. However, there are maximum amounts set by law that can be recovered, and those amounts are adjusted annually. There are also minimum amounts for low wage earners as well.
To calculate your temporary disability, a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Lawyer takes into account all forms of income that an injured employee was receiving from work: wages, food, lodging, tips, commissions, overtime, and bonuses. Wages can also include earnings from work that the injured employee performed at other jobs at the time that the employee was injured.
When does an injured employee’s rights to temporary disability payments start and stop?
An injured employee’s rights to temporary disability payments begin when the injured employee’s doctor says they can’t do his/her usual work for more than three days, or if the employee is hospitalized overnight. Payments must be made every two weeks.
Generally, an injured employee’s rights to temporary disability payments stop when they return to work; when the doctor releases them for work; or when the doctor says their injury has improved as much as it’s going to improve.
For employees injured on the job after Apr. 19, 2004, their temporary disability payments don’t generally last more than 104 weeks within a period of 2 years from the first payment (for most injuries). For employees who were injured after Jan. 1, 2008, their temporary disability payments don’t usually last more than 104 weeks within a period of 5 years from the date of their injury.
Payments for a few long-term injuries (such as severe burns or chronic lung disease) can go longer than 104 weeks.
One bit of good news about temporary disability payments, however, is that they are tax-free. You are not required to pay federal, state, or local income tax on the temporary disability payments. You do not have to pay social security taxes, union dues, or retirement fund contributions from the temporary disability payments either.
Can an injured employee’s rights to temporary disability payments be delayed?
If the claims administrator cannot determine whether an injury is covered by workers’ compensation, he or she may delay an injured employee’s rights to temporary disability payments while investigating. A delay is usually not permitted to be longer than 90 days. If there is a delay, the claims administrator must send you a letter explaining why you won’t receive payments, what additional information the claim administrator needs, and when a decision will be made. If there are further delays, the claims administrator must continue to send you additional letters with similar information.
On the positive side, if the claims administrator does not send you a letter denying your claim within 90 days after you filed the claim form, your claim is considered accepted in most cases. Likewise, if you had filed the workers’ compensation claim form at least 14 days before the payment was due and the claims administrator sends a payment late, he or she normally must pay you an additional 10 percent of the payment on a self-assessed basis.
Right to temporary disability payments are just as complicated as rights to permanent disability and rights to medical treatment. If you have questions about any of these, please contact one of the workers compensation disability attorneys at Eason & Tambornini.