The second crucial element of workers' compensation is disability benefits. These benefits are available to injured workers whose injury or condition makes them unable to work, either temporarily or permanently.
The purpose of disability benefits is to compensate you for your lost wages. There are four types of disability benefits under Florida workers' compensation broken into two categories: temporary and permanent disability.
You are eligible for temporary total disability when you need time off work to recover from your injury or condition. These benefits are not received for the first 7 days you take off work unless you are off work for more than 21 days.
Temporary total disability benefits are capped at $971 per week and calculated as 2/3 of your Average Weekly Wage. This cap on benefits is increased every year. There is a higher benefit rate for certain severe injuries like paralysis. In these cases, you are entitled to 80% of your pre-injury wages for up to 6 months with no maximum.
You can continue to receive total temporary disability benefits until one of the following three circumstances:
Under Florida law, you can receive temporary disability benefits for up to 260 weeks.
If your condition does not receive MMI but your physician says you can return to work with restrictions, you can receive temporary partial disability benefits. If earning less than you did before, the benefits are 80% of the difference between your current earnings and 80% of your wages before you were hurt.
If you have any questions about temporary benefits, contact our team for a free consultation at 954-324-COMP.
After your treatment is complete, or six weeks before your benefits are due to expire if you have not reached Maximum Medical Improvement, your physician will determine if you have a long-lasting medical condition or impairment from your injury.
If you do but you are able to work to a certain extent, a schedule is used to assign an impairment rating. This rating will be used according to Florida law to calculate how long permanent disability benefits will last.
Weekly benefits under permanent partial disability are 75% of your impairment rate up to the legal maximum. If you earn at least as much as you did before you were injured, the benefit is reduced by 50%.
If you have a permanent disability that prevents you from working at all, you are entitled to permanent total disability benefits. These benefits are available at the same rate as the temporary total disability benefits and they continue until you are 75 or for life if you don't qualify for benefits through Social Security.
Under Florida workers' comp law, some injuries are automatically considered as a permanent total disability such as a serious brain injury or the loss of an arm or leg.
Unsure if you qualify for temporary or permanent disability benefits? Contact our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers!
Along with medical and disability benefits, injured workers may be entitled to other types of benefits under Florida's workers' compensation system.
Vocational rehabilitation is available if you are unable to return to your normal job duties. In this case, you can receive vocational counseling, placement services, and help finding a new job. Workers' compensation also pays for additional education or training for up to 26 or 52 weeks.
In the case of fatal workplace accidents, the deceased worker's spouse, children, and dependents are entitled to death benefits. The death benefit amount depends on the number of benefits and is capped at 2/3 of the employee's Average Weekly Wage (capped at $971 per week in 2020) or $150,000 total. The insurance company also pays up to $7,500 for burial expenses.
Workers' compensation in Florida is not a perfect system and it comes with many trade-offs. Sadly, many injured workers find themselves fighting for the compensation they are entitled to by Florida law when insurance companies unfairly deny their claim or an employer-chosen doctor fails to recognize the severity of the worker's injuries.
At WorkInjuryRights.Com™, we are here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact our Florida workers' compensation lawyer today for help filing your claim or appealing a denied workers' comp claim.