Let’s discuss  income benefits – the weekly benefit – and how they work under Georgia workers compensation law.  Georgia worker’s comp law is designed to provide the employee with medical, rehabilitation and income benefits if injured on the job. The goal of these benefits is to help the employee return to work. It also provides benefits to the employee’s dependents if the job related injury results in the death of the employee.

The Injury – What to do

When you are hurt on the job, the most important thing you can do is notify your supervisor, and/or your boss that: one, you’ve been injured, and two, you need medical care for your injuries. Depending upon if your employer has what is called a posted panel of physicians, they may be able to control who you get to see for your medical care. Of course, if you are in an emergency situation, get the medical assistance you need.

Income Benefits – What Are Income Benefits?

So, let’s discuss the situation where you have either been taken out of work completely for more than seven days or you’ve been released to light duty.  Just what are your income benefits? Income benefits are essentially weekly checks paid to you during the time you are out of work.  These are also referred to as your weekly benefit check. Benefits always start out as temporary but can be reclassified depending on the nature, extend and recovery of the injuries.

Let’s look at a scenario where your employer cannot accommodate your light duty restrictions after your injury. For example,  you’re working construction, you hurt your back and the doctor has allowed you to return to work but placed you on light duty, sedentary duty. The doctor says you can only do work where you are sitting down.  No lifting, no climbing and no going to a construction site.  Well, your employer may say, “Hey, I don’t have any of that type of work. You just go on home.” And that may be true.  Some companies do not have light duty work for certain positions.   If they do, it’s going to be important that after seven days, there’s a discussion with the adjuster on the continuing benefits.   You should be entitled to that, so long as you’re an employee and followed the appropriate steps when getting treatment, alerting your employer and so forth.

What Is My Weekly Benefit?

Your weekly benefit is calculated from when you’re injured and looking back before your injury 13 weeks. It does not matter if that was the slowest time of the year or the busiest.  They work on wage consistency which makes it easier to calculate.  To do this, you take your average weekly wage over those 13 weeks, and that becomes your average weekly wage. Then you take two thirds or 67% of that number. That is what is called your comp rate. Now, there is a max rate and the number does change.  It will cap out at the max weekly rate.  At the time of this video, the max rate was set at $675 per week.   Because it does change, you will want to reach out to Georgia worker’s compensation attorney or reach out to the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation and just ask, what is the maximum rate of income benefits today?

Types of Benefits

Also, once that number is determined, that kind of follows you around, and that is what is called your temporary. If you’re receiving income benefits and you’re out of work completely, it’s called temporary total disability, meaning you’re totally disabled temporarily. And so you’ll be getting those checks so long as either you’re out of work completely per your doctor or you get released to light duty and your employer cannot accommodate your light duty restrictions. Keep in mind, as you’re receiving this medical care, it is anticipated that you’re going to improve in your condition. This depends upon the nature of your injuries. If you have a very, very serious injury or your claim is a catastrophic claim, it probably will not be very quickly before you recover if you are able to recover it all. These are the most serious injuries that are out there, and some of them. Unfortunately, there’s a way you can improve your condition, but you cannot get back to where you were.

Your injury will be classified as either temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, & permanent partial disability if you are at the point where you cannot be made whole.  Worker’s comp law is complex and relies on many things to help determine where you are medically with your injury.  This will also determine the path that needs to be considered by an experienced worker’s comp attorney in Georgia.

If you need additional information regarding an injury, please contact Ty.