Injured workers rely on workers’ compensation benefits to cover their living expenses after an on-the-job injury. These workers depend on these benefits, which is why many of them worry that their payments will suddenly stop, leaving them unable to make ends meet.
If you have been injured in Florida, it’s important to understand when your workers’ compensation payments may stop so you know what to expect. If you believe your payments were terminated early, or if you are having trouble getting your claim approved, a New Port Richey workers’ compensation attorney can help you fight for the benefits you deserve.
How Long Will Temporary Disability Benefits Continue?
There are two types of temporary disability benefits: temporary total disability (TTD) and temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. TTD benefits are awarded when an injured worker cannot perform any type of work at all during their recovery. TPD benefits are awarded when an injured worker can perform some work with restrictions during their recovery, but cannot earn 80% or more of their pre-injury wages due to these restrictions.
These benefits will begin on the eighth day that you qualify. You will not receive TTD or TPD benefits for the first seven days of your temporary disability unless you are disabled for more than 21 days. In this case, you will be compensated for the first seven days after you reach your 21st day of temporary disability.
TPD and TTD benefits will stop after 104 weeks or when you reach maximum medical improvement, whichever occurs first.
Can Your Temporary Disability Benefits Be Terminated Early?
There are several reasons why you may stop receiving TPD or TTD benefits before you have reached maximum medical improvement or received payments for 104 weeks.
First, it is your responsibility as an injured worker to attend all doctor’s appointments and follow the doctor’s orders regarding your treatment. If you fail to do so, your temporary disability benefits may be terminated.
You can also lose your benefits if you refuse to return to work after being cleared by a physician. The law states that if you fail or refuse to return to work after being released by a physician, you will forfeit your right to all workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages.
If you believe your return to work is making your injury worse, you may be tempted to stop going to work. But this decision could cost you your benefits. Don’t refuse to work—instead, contact your treating physician and ask for another evaluation. Your doctor can reevaluate your condition to determine if releasing you to work was the right decision.
After this evaluation, your doctor may either change your restrictions or remove you from work completely. But if your doctor does not change your status, you will need to return to work as required or you could lose your benefits.
If you disagree with your doctor’s decision to keep you at work, you can always ask for a second opinion or request a change of doctor. This way, you can get another physician to evaluate your condition and determine if returning to work is the best decision for you. However, it’s important to note that you will need to continue working even if you request a new physician or second opinion. If your treating physician has released you to work, the only way to keep your benefits is to comply with this order until told otherwise.
How Long Will Impairment Income Benefits (IIB) Continue?
Your physician will evaluate your condition once you have reached maximum medical improvement to determine if you are disabled in any way as a result of your work-related injuries. Your physician will assign you an impairment rating, which is a percentage that represents the degree to which you are physically impaired.
If you are partially disabled, which means you are impaired but still able to perform some type of work, you may be entitled to impairment income benefits (IIB).
The number of weeks you will receive these benefits will depend on your level of impairment. The law states:
- You will receive two weeks of IIB benefits for every impairment percentage point from 1 percent up to and including 10 percent.
- You will receive three weeks of IIB benefits for every impairment percentage point from 11 percent up to and including 15 percent.
- You will receive four weeks of IIB benefits for every impairment percentage point from 16 percent up to and including 20 percent.
- You will receive six weeks of IIB benefits for every impairment percentage point from 21 percent and higher.
These benefits will begin the day after you reach maximum medical improvement or as soon as your temporary disability benefits expire, whichever occurs first.
How Long Will Permanent Total Disability Benefits Continue?
You may be awarded permanent total disability (PTD) benefits if your injuries are so severe that you will never be able to return to work again. If you are awarded PTD benefits, you will continue to receive payments for as long as you are permanently and totally disabled.
However, if you return to work at some point in the future, or if it is determined that your condition has improved and you are capable of returning to work, your PTD benefits will stop.
Let Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Help After An On-the-Job Injury
Securing the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to by law is not always easy. If you’ve been injured at work, it’s best to seek legal representation from the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett. Our attorneys have over 125 years of combined experience helping injured workers fight for the benefits they deserve. We aren’t afraid of going up against large insurers and employers in order to protect your best interests and obtain benefits for your workplace injuries.
Contact our law office now to schedule a free consultation with our team regarding your workers’ compensation case.