If you are unable to work because you suffered a work-related injury or illness, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides for your lost wages and medical expenses. It’s important that you understand how the worker’s compensation laws work and how benefits are paid if you become eligible to receive them.
Workers’ compensation benefits are generally paid by private insurance companies that provide coverage for employers. Nearly all Pennsylvania employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
How Are Lost Wages Payments Determined by Workers’ Compensation?
If you are injured at work and are unable to continue your job due to those injuries, then you will be eligible to receive lost wages payments. If you can work, but only at reduced hours or in a position in which you receive lower pay, then you are also eligible for lost wages compensation. Possible lost wages compensation includes the following:
Total Disability Benefits
Workers who are considered entirely disabled are not able to work in any capacity.
- Benefits paid will equal two-thirds of your average weekly wage.
- If you average weekly wage is lower than $569.43, the minimum amount of benefits you are eligible for is 90 percent of your average weekly wage or 50 percent of the average statewide weekly wage, whichever is lower.
- The benefit can’t exceed the average weekly wage that has been established by state law, which is $1,025 for any injuries that occurred after January 1, 2018.
Partial Disability Benefits
Partial disability benefits are when you can return to work, but not at full capacity. This type of benefit can happen if you are required by doctors to work fewer hours than pre-injury, or when you have to take a position that pays less than your pre-injury wages. These benefits are typically two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury wages and post-injury wages.
How is Average Weekly Wage Determined?
Benefits paid for lost wages are based on your average weekly wage. It’s important that you know how this amount is calculated so that you know your payments are accurate and as high as possible. Usually, the average is based on your earnings for the 12 months immediately before your work injury. Your average weekly wage includes all of the following:
- Vacation pay
- Holiday pay
- Profit sharing
- Incentive pay
- Sickness and accident benefits
Some other factors that may affect your average weekly wage, as well, including:
- If you were working for two or more employers at the same time
- If you have had previous injuries
- How long you worked for your employer prior to your injury
When Are Lost Wages Payments Made?
Benefits become payable on your eighth consecutive day of disability. That means that you will become eligible to receive payment after you are disabled for a week. When you are not able to work for at least 14 consecutive days, you will be paid benefits retroactively for the first seven days.
If you report your injury or illness promptly and the workers’ compensation insurance company accepts your claim, then you should receive your first payment within the first 21 days following your injury. You will then receive regular compensation payments after that.
When Are Lost Wage Payments Stopped?
When the workers’ compensation insurance carrier learns that you have returned to work, and you are earning at least as much as you were prior to your injury, they can discontinue your payments.
- The employer may pay temporary compensation benefits for up to 90 days while a decision is pending, but it may notify the worker that it is stopping these benefits if the claim is not accepted.
- Partial disability benefits end after 500 weeks, roughly 9 and ½ years.
- If a person has a disability rating of 50 percent or greater and receives total disability benefits, these benefits may continue for the rest of his or her life.
Get Help for Your Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Claim
At the law offices of Rand Spear, we understand the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws and system. We are aware of all reporting deadlines and factors that will affect your benefit amounts, and we will advocate for you, ensuring that you receive the highest benefits possible from workers’ compensation insurance companies.
Contact workers’ compensation attorney, Rand Spear, today at 215-985-2424 for your free case evaluation.
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved. This article is not to be considered advise, only the execution of the contingency agreement with this law firm will constitute an attorney-client relationship. The contents of this article are for general information only. If you would like to pursue a claim, please contact an attorney immediately to discuss your specific facts and circumstances regarding your claim. Some cases accepted by this law firm may be referred to or worked on by other lawyers, depending on the area of practice and specifics of a particular case.