Tag Archives: wage loss benefits

Wage Loss & Wage Replacement Benefits

If you are an injured worker, you may find yourself unable to continue working or performing the same job after your injury. This can result in you losing income. Fortunately, workman’s compensation can pay you a portion of your lost wages.

Wage loss or wage replacement benefits are payments made to you if you lose all or part of your income because of a workplace injury.

The Minnesota workman’s comp laws use a lot of legal jargon, such as “temporary total disability” or “permanent total disability” to explain whether you are eligible for wage loss benefits. Despite the complicated terminology, injured employees who are eligible for wage benefits generally fall into one of three simple situations.

1. You have lost all of your income because your work injury keeps you from working.

Many injured employees experience a period immediately after a work injury when they cannot work but may return after a few days or weeks. This is called Temporary Total Disability. You are temporarily unable to work.

For some employees, their work injury is so severe it keeps them from ever working again. This is called Permanent Total Disability. You are permanently unable to work.

In both circumstances, workman’s compensation may pay you a portion of what your income should have been had you been working.

2. You lose income because your work injury stops you from working a full shift.

If you are an injured employee, your doctor may give you work restrictions that cap how many hours you can work a day, your employer doesn’t have enough work for your restriction-type, or you may simply be unable to tolerate your normal hours because of your work injury.

This is called Temporary Partial Disability. You are temporarily only able to do part of your job or earn part of your wages.

Generally, an employer does not have to pay the injured employee for the hours he or she did not work, so the injured employee can take a huge wage loss. And unfortunately, while your income has decreased, your monthly bills and living expenses probably did not. The good news is that workers’ compensation’s wage loss benefits kick in and help make up for those lost wages.

3. You are not getting paid as much after your work injury.

Wage loss can also occur when you work your regular hours but cannot continue to do your old job either permanently or temporarily. Our clients who find themselves in this situation often have to take a new job that pays less. Here, wage loss benefits may be available to make up for the income difference of your old and new position. This is also referred to as Temporary Partial Disability.

Plan of Action: What Are Your Next Steps?

If you fit into one of the categories above, you may be eligible for wage replacement workers’ compensation benefits. Your next step is to take some time to learn more about the workers’ compensation. You may want to check out our “Basics” blog series for a general understanding of workman’s comp or you simply may want to speak with a Minnesota work comp attorney to get more information about your specific case.

Minnesota Work Comp Attorneys

If this information has brought concerns to your attention, we encourage you to speak with an workman’s compensation attorney as soon as possible. Our Minneapolis attorneys have extensive experience in handling workman’s compensation claims and are available to discuss your case. To speak with an attorney on the workers’ compensation team at Heimerl & Lammers, contact us at 612.294.2200.

Wage Loss Benefits

What to do if the Insurance Company Stops Paying your Wage Loss Benefits

If you receive a Notice of Intention to Discontinue (NOID) from the insurance company paying your wage loss benefits you need to take action immediately to make sure you continue to get the benefits you deserve. A NOID can mean many things. It could mean one type of benefit has ended and another has begun, or it could mean that all wage loss benefits from the date of the NOID forward will be denied.

There are countless possible reasons why the insurance company may decide to stop paying you. If you feel they have unjustly cut you off, what you do next is extremely important. Here are some tips on what to do next:

Contact an attorney. This should be the first thing you do. An attorney is your best chance of getting your benefits reinstated quickly.

Request an Administrative Conference by calling the number on the NOID. It is important that you request an Admin Conference within 12 days of the date the NOID was served. You can find the service date of the NOID on the second page in the bottom right hand corner. If you request an Admin Conference within 12 days you will be granted an audience with a judge within two to four weeks.

If you do not request a conference within the 12 days you will have no choice but to file an Objection to Discontinuance. An Objection to Discontinuance can take up to 60 days before you are able to get in front of a judge, another 30 days for a judge to render a decision, and another 14 days before you start getting paid again.

Obviously, the quicker you can get in front of a judge the quicker you can start getting paid again. These Admin Conferences are only Band-Aids and are appealable by either side. Even if you are able to reinstate your benefits the fight for your benefits has just begun.

Wage Loss Benefits for a New Employee: Are You Getting the Compensation you Deserve?

In Minnesota, a person is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits if he or she suffers an injury on the job. An injured worker can receive wage loss benefits (money) if their injury forces them to work fewer hours.

Determining wage loss benefits is often straight forward. The controlling factor is the worker’s Average Weekly Wage (AWW). If the injured worker is off work completely due to the injury, they get 2/3 his or her AWW. If the injured worker is working fewer hours due to work restrictions, they get 2/3 the difference between the AWW and the amount they are earning while on work restrictions.

Determining the AWW

The AWW is generally found by averaging the employee’s wages during the 26 weeks prior to the injury. Pretty easy, right? Well, most of the time.

The reality is that an employee’s AWW can be a major issue on a workers’ compensation claim. This is particularly true for injured workers that just started working for their employer. This is because the “26 weeks prior” may not accurately reflect the wage loss the person may suffer as a result of the work injury, especially for new or recently hired employees.

Orientation Pay

What if the injured worker was hurt while receiving “orientation pay,” or injured during the “training period,” or before they were eligible to receive commissions for their work? The 26 weeks prior calculation may not be a fair reflection of the wages they were in fact going to receive. Often the insurers will attempt to calculate the AWW by using this simple equation:

The total pay to the employee in the 26 weeks immediately prior to the injury, divided by 26.

The unfortunate reality is that for new employees, this often short shrifts the injured worker from the amount of wage loss benefits they should actually be receiving.

If you are a new employee and get injured at work, be aware that the simple “26 weeks prior” average may not provide you with the wage loss benefits to which you are entitled. New employees that get injured are more often shortchanged regarding wage loss benefits.

In these situations, a skilled workers’ comp attorney can advocate for an appropriate AWW, to make sure you get the wage loss benefits you deserve.