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How Much Does Workers’ Comp Pay for Lost Wages?

Businessman handing a note to employees. wages, workers' compensation.

The amount of lost wages that you will receive from workers’ comp varies with the nature and extent of your injury, your income, and your work limitations. In Illinois, wage loss benefits under workers’ comp fall into four main categories. They include temporary total disability benefits, temporary partial disability benefits, permanent total disability benefits, and permanent partial disability benefits.

You may receive multiple forms of wage loss benefits simultaneously. Total disability benefits give you two-thirds of your average weekly wage or salary. Partial disability benefits give you two-thirds of whatever remains when you subtract your average weekly wage after the injury from your average weekly wage before the injury. 

Wage Loss Benefits in Illinois 

Temporary Disability Benefits in Illinois Workers’ Comp Claims 

If you are thinking about how to get paid if you are injured and can’t work, you probably have a work-related injury. If your workplace injury or illness renders you unable to work, you may qualify for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. You may also qualify for these benefits if your employer cannot assign you work duties that suit your physical limitations. 

TTD benefits will not be available for the first three missed workdays unless you require at least 14 days away from work. These benefits will keep coming until your treating physician declares your condition has attained maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI happens when you reach a state where medical treatment cannot further improve your condition. 

Your TTD benefits will amount to two-thirds of the average weekly wage before your injury. Illinois has a maximum average weekly wage amount that you can receive while on disability. This amount changes every half a year. The maximum amount for the first six months of 2022 is $1,734.83. 

You may collect temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits if you resume part-time or light-duty work during recovery. TPD benefits are usually two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury wages and your current wages. 

For example, if your pre-injury earnings were $1,400 per week, and you became a part-time employee making $500 per week after the injury, to calculate your TPD benefits, you will need to get the difference between $1,400 and $500, which is $900. You will then get two-thirds of that amount as your TPD benefits, which amounts to $600 per week.

Permanent Total Disability Benefits in Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims  

Upon reaching MMI, your doctor will carefully examine you to determine if you have suffered any permanent physical loss or disability due to workplace injury or illness. The doctor will deem you permanently and totally disabled if you cannot perform any work-related duties or you have suffered catastrophic injuries like total blindness, severe sensory or motor impairments, and severe spinal cord injuries.

 In that case, you will be eligible to collect permanent total disability checks for life. The rate of these payments is equal to that of TTD benefits, which is two-thirds of your average weekly wage or salary. 

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits in Workers’ Comp Cases in Illinois 

If your work injury has caused you to lose the function of some part of your body, you may qualify to collect permanent partial disability payments. In Illinois, these payments are available in four categories: wage differential benefits, scheduled awards, nonscheduled awards, and disfigurement benefits. 

Wage Differential Benefits 

You might qualify for wage differential payments if you have resumed work, but your current wages are less than what you were making before your injury. These payments are two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury weekly wage and current weekly wage. These payments will terminate after sixty months or when you attain age 67, whichever is later.  

Scheduled Awards

You may receive a scheduled award if you have lost the function of some parts of your body, including the eyes, ears, hands, or legs. You can calculate your scheduled award by multiplying 60% of your average weekly wages before the injury by the number of weeks listed in Illinois law’s schedule. A total loss of function of a hand, for instance, stands at 190 weeks. 

If you have suffered a 40% loss of function in your hand, 76 weeks would be the multiplier. If your average weekly wage before the work injury was $1,400, you would collect a scheduled award of $63,840 ($840 x 76). 

Nonscheduled Awards 

If you have sustained a permanent impairment that is not included on the schedule like the head, spine, or internal injuries, you might be entitled to a nonscheduled award. This award is equal to 60% of your average weekly wages before the injury multiplied by a percentage of 500 weeks. This percentage is the impairment rating that your doctor allocates to your condition. 

Let us assume you have a permanent impairment caused by a spine injury rated as 30% impairment to the entire body, and your pre-injury wage was $1,400 per week. You would collect a total of $126,000, which is $840 multiplied by 150 weeks (30% of 500 weeks). 

Disfigurement Benefits 

If a noticeable area of your body, including the head, face, neck, or limbs, is severely and permanently disfigured, you may qualify for disfigurement benefits. These benefits amount to 60% of your average weekly wage before the injury and often last up to 162 weeks. If you have a severe facial disfigurement, you might collect the maximum number of payments available. 

Get Legal Representation for Your Workers’ Comp Claim 

As you can see, determining how much workers’ comp pays for lost wages is an arduous task. A workers’ compensation lawyer can investigate your situation and determine the wage loss benefits that may be available to you. The lawyer can also advise you on what not to say to the workers’ comp adjuster to improve your odds of receiving maximum wage loss benefits. 

The lawyer can assemble enough medical evidence to build a strong claim. The lawyer can also communicate with the workers’ comp adjuster on your behalf and provide skillful representation at your workers’ comp hearing or trial. 

Are Remote Workers Eligible for Workers’ Comp Benefits?

You may be wondering, “do remote workers qualify for workers’ compensation benefits?” This is especially true if you are a remote worker with a work-related injury. In Illinois, remote workers might qualify for workers’ comp benefits if they sustain work-related injuries or illnesses. To receive these benefits, you must prove beyond reasonable doubt that your injuries happened while acting in your employer’s best interests.

As the founder of the firm, Neal has devoted his life to working for the worker. His achievements are numerous and beyond reproach. He is most proud of his work in helping clients obtain valuable benefits, such as a wheelchair ramp to his home or lifetime medical care.

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