Wage Benefits Under Florida Workers Compensation Laws
There are four types of wage benefits you can receive under the Florida workers compensation laws. The four types are: Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Temporary Partial Disability (TPD), Permanent Total Disability (PTD), and Impairment Benefits (IB’s). The easiest way to determine what type of benefit you are receiving is to look on the check stub that comes from the insurance company. You will usually see a notation on the check that indicates which one of these classifications of wage benefits is being paid, and the time period for which it is being paid. However, it can be very confusing understanding when and why you are entitled (or not entitled) to Florida workers compensation wage benefits. Here is a brief explanation of the four types of Florida workers compensation wage benefits: Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD) - A Florida workers compensation insurance company is obligated to pay TTD wage benefits when the authorized treating physician provides the opinion that a person is completely unable to perform their job. It is called Temporary because most people will return to some level of performing work after they receive medical care. The full criteria for awarding TTD can be found at Fla. Stat. 440.15(2). To calculate TTD, you need to first determine what your average weekly wage (AWW) is. Your average weekly wage is defined in Fla. Statute 440.14 as the average weekly wages earned during the 13 weeks immediately before your accident occurred. To calculate TTD, you take your AWW and multiply it by 66 2/3 %, i.e. you earn $500/week, your AWW would be $500 and your TTD, or Compensation Rate, would be $333.00. There are many variations to how your AWW is calculated, so it is best to review your earnings with an experienced Florida workers compensation attorney. Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) - TPD is paid, prior to reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI), when your doctor says that you can return to work on a light duty basis, and your employer has light duty work within your restrictions for you. TPD is also paid based on the amount of your AWW, in conjunction with the amount of money you earn on a weekly basis after you return light duty. The full explanation of when TPD should be paid can be found at Fla. Stat. 440.15(4). In general, if after returning to light duty work, you are not earning at least 80% of your pre-injury AWW, the insurance company has to pay you 80% of the difference between 80% of AWW and what you are earning in a light duty capacity. For example, your AWW is $500. You return to work light duty and are only making $300 per week. The insurance company would have to pay you 80% of the difference between $300 and $400 (80% of your AWW), or an additional $80.00. Permanent Total Disability (PTD) - The definition for PTD can be found at Fla. Stat. 440.15(1). PTD benefits are to be paid when the injured worker cannot return to any employment after they have been injured at work. If you qualify for PTD, payments will continue until the injured worker reaches the age of 65 years old. PTD is to be paid at the same rate as TTD, or 66 2/3% of your AWW. Again, there are many variations of why and when PTD benefits should be paid, so it is best to speak with an experienced Florida workers compensation lawyer to see whether you are eligible for PTD benefits. Impairment Benefits (IB’s) - IB’s are to be paid after the authorized treating physician has placed you at maximum medical improvement (MMI). IB’s will be paid as long as the doctor gives you an impairment rating based upon the injury you suffered at work. The rate at which IB’s are to be paid can be found at Fla. Stat. 440.15(3). IB’s are to be paid at the rate of 75% of your TTD rate, and will be paid as follows: 1. 2 weeks of IB’s for each percentage point of impairment from 1-10% i.e. - a 7% impairment rating entitles you to 14 weeks of IB’s. 2. 3 weeks of IB’s for each percentage point of impairment from 11-15% i.e. - a 12 % impairment rating entitles you to 36 weeks of IB’s. 3. 4 weeks of IB’s for each percentage point of impairment from 16-20% i.e. - a 17% impairment rating entitles you to 68 weeks of IB’s. 4. 6 weeks of IB’s for each percentage point of impairment from 21% up i.e. - a 21% impairment rating entitles you to 126 weeks of IB’s. This is an extremely simplified explanation of the Florida workers compensation wage benefits that you can receive under the Florida workers compensation laws. In order to determine whether you should be receiving workers compensation wage benefits, it is best to consult with an experienced Florida workers compensation lawyer. Joseph M. Maus is “AV" rated by Martindale Hubbell, the highest ethical and skill level awarded, and specializes in helping injured workers recover the full amount of wage benefits to which they may be entitled.