In many cases, workers’ compensation benefits involve a one-time lump sum payment. However, there are scenarios where injured workers may receive benefits over a period of time due to a disability. In Illinois, workers’ compensation benefits can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years. In some especially severe cases, they may even last for life.
Illinois Disability Benefits Under Workers’ Comp
If a work injury leaves you disabled, disfigured, or otherwise unable to perform your job duties for an extended period of time, you are entitled to disability benefits. These benefits typically last until you recover enough to return to work, though some restrictions may apply.
Temporary partial disability (TPD)
TPD benefits are designed for those who are able to return to light-duty work while recovering from a work injury. It covers 2/3 of the difference between your previous income and whatever you’d earn in your current light-duty/part-time work. These benefits last until you return to your regular work duties.
Temporary total disability (TTD)
If your injury renders you completely unable to work for a while—or if your employer has no light-duty work available for you—you’d be entitled to temporary total disability. TTD lasts until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), and it equals 2/3 of your normal weekly wage.
If you’re off work for fewer than 14 work days, however, the first three days are not paid.
Permanent partial disability (PPD)
Permanent partial disability benefits are calculated in a number of ways, and those could affect how long they last:
- Wage differential: You get 2/3 of your lost wages for five years or until you turn 67, whichever is longer.
- Disfigurement: Up to 162 weeks at 60% of your average weekly wage (AWW), depending on severity.
- Scheduled injury: 60% of your AWW for the number of weeks assigned to your injury.
- Nonscheduled injury: 60% of your AWW for a number of weeks based on your disability rating (assigned by your doctor).
These benefits may be paid for the duration of the number of weeks assigned, or you might settle for a lump sum amount.
Permanent total disability (PTD)
If your doctor deems you completely unable to return to work, or if you lose any combination of two arms, hands, feet, legs, or eyes, you’d be entitled to permanent total disability. PTD is paid at 2/3 of your AWW, and it lasts for life. That said, workers who are entitled to PTD may opt for a lump sum settlement.
Getting the Maximum Benefits Possible
While a work injury may entitle you to disability benefits, getting what you are owed is a matter of following all the necessary steps, including visiting your doctor. Your doctor must declare you are unable to return to your normal work duties in order for you to qualify for long-term benefits.
In addition, the fact that these injuries can get expensive for your employer often incentivizes them to minimize their payout. In these scenarios, you’ll need the representation of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Hart David Carson LLP can help you get the benefits you deserve if you’ve been disabled in a work accident.