When Do Workers’ Comp Benefits Start?

If you are injured at work, you may be qualified to receive workers’ compensation. The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide employees with financial assistance after they have been injured on the job. 

Some medical benefits may start immediately after the injury. Other non-medical benefits, such as temporary disability benefits and time-loss compensation, may not begin until the claim has been formally accepted. This article will help you to understand workers’ compensation, how long it may be after you have applied for workers’ comp that you may receive your benefits and payment, and tips to get your benefits faster.

When Does Workers’ Compensation Start Paying?

There are different types of benefits that you may receive from workers’ compensation, and the benefits you qualify for will be determined by the circumstances and severity of your injury and your ability or inability to return to work. 

Generally, the medical bills related to your work injury may be paid for by your employer before you even file your worker’s comp claim. If you are eligible for other benefits, you may not receive payment until your claim has been processed and approved. 

Medical Workers’ Compensation 

You do not need to file or apply for a worker’s comp claim before you seek medical treatment. If you are injured on the job, alert your employer, and immediately seek medical treatment. Inform the medical professional that you have or intend to file a workers’ comp claim. The medical professional can provide you treatment, document your industry-related injuries, and oftentimes, bill your employer or workers’ comp insurance carrier directly. 

Medical bills for your treatment will likely be paid by your employer, your employer’s insurance company, or by the state insurer. If you have not yet filed a workers’ comp claim and receive medical bills for the treatment of a work-related injury, file a workers’ comp claim immediately and send a copy of your medical bills to your employer or insurance company to be processed for payment. 

In most states, an employer is responsible for the payment of medical bills or treatment in a work-related claim, even before the claim is formally accepted and sometimes even if a claim is later denied. 

If you believe your workers’ comp claim was unreasonably denied, or are having difficulty having your medical bills paid for a work-related injury, you may consider finding legal help from a local workers’ compensation lawyer.

Non-Medical Workers’ Compensation

In some cases, you may be eligible for additional workers’ compensation benefits. This may include short-term and long-term disability or permanent disability. Disability benefits typically cover a percentage of the employee’s lost wages. You may also be entitled to benefits for:

  • Scarring,
  • Hearing loss,
  • Loss of limb,
  • Further medical expenses that are related to your work-place injury.

Your non-medical workers’ compensation benefits will not be paid until your claim has been approved. You may also not receive your non-medical workers’ compensation benefits until you are entitled to those benefits, which may include having your healthcare professional fill out a form to certify that you are physically unable to work and that you are eligible for benefits. 

Your non-medical workers’ compensation benefits may cease when your medical professional or employer establishes evidence that you are capable of returning to work. If your workers’ compensation and disability claims are denied, you may consider speaking with a local worker’s comp attorney who understands your state’s laws and can advocate on your behalf.

Does Workers’ Compensation Pay Weekly?

The Worker’s Compensation Act requires employers to pay non-medical workers’ comp benefits at the same time table that regular paychecks are made. This means that after approval, workers’ comp disability benefits should be received on the employer’s pay cycle — weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly. 

If you were awarded your workers’ comp claim and are not receiving your benefits, it is crucial to keep records of any payments, late payments, or lack of payments, and contact a workers’ comp attorney to get the compensation you need. You may also have grounds to sue your employer if your employer mismanages the workers’ compensation claim, doesn’t carry adequate insurance, or the financial assistance provided isn’t enough to cover your needs after a work-related injury.

How Much Will You Get Paid For Lost Wages?

Depending on your coverage for your short and long-term disability, you may receive 40%-60% of your wages for short-term disability or 50%-70% of your wages for long-term disability. Generally, workers’ compensation and lost wages are not considered taxable income.

Can You Work While on Workers’ Compensation?

In some cases, a worker may seek new employment or may return to work under light or modified duty if their injury was only partially disabling and still receive their workers’ compensation benefits. In general, if you make the same or more money than before your injury, your payments for lost wages may be suspended. If you make less money than before you were injured, you may receive lost wage payments as partial disability benefits. If a medical professional determines that you are capable of returning to work, you may no longer receive workers’ compensation benefits.

What About a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?

Before accepting a settlement for your workers’ compensation case, you should speak with a workers’ comp attorney. A settlement is usually distributed in a lump sum, also known as a “compromise and release”. The time it takes to receive a compensation settlement will depend on the length and time of the case and hearing. If you receive a settlement, you may become ineligible to apply for further workers’ compensation.

Tips To Get Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits Sooner

The workers’ compensation process can be slow, especially if your case is under investigation or denied. To ensure the workers’ compensation process runs smoothly so that you can get your benefits as soon as possible you should consider the following.

  • Get a workers’ compensation attorney who can help you through the process.
  • Speak with your attorney about any pre-existing conditions or problems to decide if you should send records to the insurance claims adjuster.
  • If you have a pre-existing condition, you may also consider speaking with your medical professional about writing a statement addressing how the work injury has impacted your pre-existing condition.
  • Obtain an out-of-work slip from the medical professional and provide this documentation to your insurance carrier. You may need to obtain and provide an out-of-work note after every medical appointment.
  • Depending on the state you reside in, if you are only restricted to light-duty, your insurance provider may not be obligated to pay your benefits if you are not working or actively seeking appropriate work.

There are often many steps to the workers’ compensation process. The surest way to get your workers’ compensation benefits as fast as possible is to file your claim immediately, or as soon as you can after your work-place injury occurs.

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