Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits for Lost Wages

Posted on June 06, 2023

Following a workplace accident, you may be facing lost wages due to your injuries. This can lead to uncertainty about how to pay your bills. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to compensate you for loss of wages. You may have suffered disabilities that are total or partial, temporary, or permanent. There are different types of benefits available for you, depending on the type of disability that you have suffered.  

hand of worker with yellow hard-hat. Lost wages concept

Types of Disability Pay for Workers’ Compensation

If you have developed a long-term condition, you may be able to get disability after a workman’s comp settlement. There are four types of disability claims, each with its own type of payment in a workers’ compensation claim.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

If you are unable to work indefinitely due to injuries, you may be eligible for Permanent Total Disability (PTD) under Illinois workers’ compensation laws. PTD is granted when a worker is permanently and completely disabled. It is automatically awarded if a worker loses both hands, feet, arms, or legs. Additionally, it is granted when a disability prevents a worker from performing work for which there is a reasonable chance of employment. As a result, the worker is granted two-thirds of his or her wages, which is paid for the remainder of his or her life. If the worker does return to work, these benefits may be adjusted or terminated.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

If you lose the use of a body part due to work-related injuries, you may be eligible for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD). Despite the loss of a body part, PPD allows you to return to work and earn your wages, even if you cannot perform the same work or hold the same positions as before your injury.

There are four types of PPD benefits available in Illinois.

Wage Differential Benefits 

The purpose of these benefits is to provide compensation for the wages lost due to an injury. You may be able to resume work, but your earnings are lower than they were before the injury.  In this case, you are eligible to receive wage differential benefits until you reach 67 years of age or until five years have passed (whichever comes later).

Disfigurement 

If you have suffered a serious and permanent disfiguring injury that is visible and work-related, disfigurement benefits are available to compensate you. This award is calculated based on 60% of your pre-injury wages and can be received for up to 162 weeks.

Scheduled Loss of Use 

In Illinois, specific body parts are assigned a maximum number of weeks for which you can claim a percentage of your wages. If the accident occurred on or after 1 February, you can claim a percentage of your wages for the following time periods:

  • Thumb – 76 weeks; index finger – 43 weeks; middle Finger – 38 weeks; ring finger – 27 weeks; and fourth or little finger – 22 weeks
  • Hand – 205 weeks, and arm – 253 weeks
  • Leg – 215 weeks, and foot – 167 weeks
  • Eye – 162 weeks
  • Loss of hearing in one ear – 54 weeks; or total and permanent loss of hearing – 200 weeks

The percentage referred to is based on the degree of impairment of the affected limb. Therefore, if your wages were $500 per week, and you have lost 50% use of your thumb, your benefits would be calculated as follows:

Weekly wages × number of weeks assigned for the limb × percentage loss of use of the limb.

$500 × 76 × 50%= $19,000

In this scenario, you would receive a compensation of $19,000.

Non-Schedule Injuries 

If you have sustained injuries that are not listed in the above schedule but still experience limitations, you could qualify for benefits for up to 500 weeks (subject to injury severity). The number of weeks is calculated by taking 60% of your pre-injury wages and multiplying it by a percentage of 500 weeks based on your doctor’s disability rating of the injury.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

If you are unable to work due to injuries or illnesses, you may be eligible for TTD benefits. The duration of your absence from work will depend on where you sustained the injury or developed the illness. In Illinois, you can receive TTD benefits if you are unable to work for three consecutive days.

If you meet the requirements for TTD benefits, your employer must start paying the benefits within two weeks of the injury. TTD benefits provide two-thirds of your lost wages, based on your average weekly earnings.

Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)

If you have suffered an injury that hinders your ability to work, but you are not fully disabled, you may qualify for TPD benefits. For instance, you may have injured your leg, which restricts your mobility but still allows you to carry out certain tasks in a lower-paying job. Alternatively, you may be able to work the same job, but for shorter periods of time.

In such cases, workers’ comp insurance providers may provide TPD benefits. These benefits usually cover approximately two-thirds (66.6%) of the difference between your current earnings and your earnings before the injury occurred.

How Workers’ Compensation Wages Are Calculated

After a workplace injury, there are several factors that determine how much your claim for lost wages is calculated. A workers’ compensation attorney will assist you with how to prove lost wages, which may include providing past earnings statements, and other such employment and financial documentation.

If you have been injured while at work, you may be entitled to benefits from workers’ compensation. Regardless of who is at fault, workers’ comp typically provides benefits to those who are injured on the job. 

Under Illinois law, you may have claims for various payments from workers’ comp. These include:

Wage loss. If your injury is severe enough to prevent you from continuing in your current job or finding a similar-paying job, you may be eligible for compensation. This applies even if you are forced to take a lower-paying job. In Illinois, workers’ compensation may cover a portion of this wage differential.

Vocational training. If you have sustained injuries that hinder you from performing your regular job, you might be eligible for vocational training to acquire skills in an alternative profession.

Disability. The type of workers’ comp benefits that you can receive when claiming lost wages depends on the type of disability that you have suffered. There are four different types of disability. These are:

Temporary partial disability (TPD). In this situation, a person sustains an injury that temporarily hinders his or her ability to perform certain tasks, while still being capable of completing his or her job at a diminished capacity.

Temporary total disability (TTD). When a person gets injured and needs time off work to heal. During this period, the person is unable to work at all.

Permanent partial disability (PPD). When a person permanently loses the use of a body part, it is considered a serious matter. In such cases, workers’ compensation typically provides a payment for the loss of a limb.

Permanent total disability (PTD). Sustaining severe injuries in the workplace can result in PTD, which means losing two of the same major body parts or being permanently unable to work.

Maximum Medical Improvement

If you have sustained injuries while on the job, you may qualify for workers’ compensation based on the severity and duration of your injuries. How long workman’s comp lasts is determined by the extent of your injury and when you are no longer affected by it or cannot improve further. 

Maximum medical improvement is officially defined as a point in treatment where no fundamental change is expected despite ongoing medical or rehabilitative procedures. At this point, medical intervention will no longer improve or worsen your condition. 

Employees are typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits until they reach maximum medical improvement. During rehabilitation, you can receive temporary partial disability benefits, which cover two-thirds of your lost income due to work-related injuries.

How Often Does Workers’ Comp Pay for Lost Wages?

According to Illinois law, there are specific benefits that must be granted to workers who are entitled to receive compensation. One significant benefit is designed to ensure that you continue to receive your regular pay if you are unable to work. However, these checks will not cover all of your usual earnings. Typically, you can expect to receive workers’ compensation checks that equal two-thirds of your average weekly wage. These checks should be distributed regularly as structured payments, following the same schedule as your normal paychecks. Therefore, you can anticipate receiving workers’ compensation checks weekly, every two weeks, or monthly, depending on your usual wage schedule.

There may be the option of receiving a lump sum settlement, rather than structured payments for your lost wages over a period of time, if you feel that it is beneficial in your circumstances.