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What are workers' compensation wage replacement benefits?

Many workers don't realize that, in addition to paying for their medical care after a work-related injury, workers' compensation insurance will also provide wage replacement benefits in some cases.

For New York workers who suffer on-the-job injuries that leave them at home and unable to work while they heal, wage replacement benefits serves as a vital lifeline of financial support.

How wage replacement benefits work

Wage replacement benefits will fall under the category of temporary disability benefits or permanent disability benefits:

Temporary disability: Temporary disability benefits for workers' compensation offer non-permanent wage-replacement benefits that are meant to help workers cover their living costs while recovering from their employment-related injuries. Specific minimums and maximums will apply to wage replacement benefits, and a worker will not usually be able to receive 100 percent of his or her previous income. Rather, the worker will get a percentage of his or her average weekly gross pay -- usually about two-thirds of this amount.

Even though a worker does not receive his or her full paycheck, however, workers' compensation benefits are not taxable, so, with these tax savings, injured employees can expect to receive an amount that's close to his or her previous wages.

Permanent disability: Injured workers may be able to receive an award of permanent disability benefits if their injuries leave them permanently disabled and unable to hold down his or her previous job. The amount of permanent disability benefits the worker receives will depend on the level of limitation caused by the work-caused disabilities he or she is suffering from.

Other considerations that determine the amount of benefits will be how much the worker was earning before the disability and how much the worker can currently earn.

Do you need to apply for wage replacement benefits?

If you're at home and unable to work because of an employment-related injury, it's important to act immediately to safeguard your potential right to receive wage-replacement benefits. These vital benefits could be a means for you to continue to pay rent and put food on the table even though you're currently unable to earn an income.

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