Workers’ compensation covers seven categories of benefits. Your employer must pay you for each category that applies to your specific situation. Here is a brief explanation of the seven categories:
1. Wage Replacement: You are entitled to 2/3 of your gross average weekly wage, up to 500 weeks, but not including the first seven days you are injured unless the disability lasts more than 3 weeks.
2. Lifetime Medical Benefits: As long as you file a claim within the time limit, your employer must pay your medical expenses from covered conditions for as long as necessary.
3. Permanent Partial Impairment: If you have lost the use of a body part such as an arm, you are entitled to benefits based on the percentage of loss, even if you are working, as long as you have reached maximum medical improvement. Unfortunately, back, neck, and whole body impairment is not included.
4. Permanent and Total Disability: If you have lost your hands, arms, feet, legs, eyes, or any two in the same accident, or if you were paralyzed or disabled from a severe brain injury, you are entitled to lifetime wage benefits.
5. Death Benefits: Some family members, such as a surviving spouse or minor child, may be entitled to benefits for lost wages when their loved one has died on the job. They may also be entitled to up to $10,000 in funeral expenses and up to $1,000 in transportation costs.
6. Cost of Living Increase: If you are receiving temporary total, permanent total, or death benefits, you can request this benefit each October if the combination of workers’ compensation and Social Security benefits is less than 80% of pre-injury earnings.
7. Vocational Rehabilitation: If you are well enough for a light duty job and are actively looking for one, even if you expect to return to your regular job, you may be entitled to retraining at no expense to you.