When you are injured on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The workers’ compensation system protects employees and employers. Employees receive medical treatment and are compensated for lost wages associated with work-related injuries and disease, and employers provide for the cost of coverage while being protected from direct costly lawsuits by employees.

Benefits are paid out in two different ways. There are medical benefits that pay for doctors, surgeries, medical equipment and any bills associated with the injury. Then there are wage loss benefits which compensate for the time you are out of work and help you live from day to day. Because Pennsylvania does not cap medical benefits, you can receive them for as long as needed. However, there is a cap on wage loss benefits.

How to Determine How Long You Can Receive Wage Loss Benefits

The time period to collect compensation is based on the classification of your injury. An approved medical doctor will examine your case and confirm your disability. There are two injury classifications in Pennsylvania:

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

This is when a job-related illness or injury prevents an employee from working in any capacity. Eligibility starts one week from the date you were last able to work. You can receive TTD benefits indefinitely but after 104 weeks, the employee will most likely be asked by the employer’s insurance carrier to get an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE), which will determine the level of whole body impairment. If the IRE determines that you are less than 35% impaired, you will be considered temporary partial disability.

TemporaryPartial Disability (TPD)

This means one of three things. First, it can mean that the employee has either returned to worker at wages less than their pre-injury average weekly wage. Second,  if a judge determines that you have an earning capacity, then your benefits will be modified to temporary partial disability. Lastly, if your impairment rating after 104 weeks of TTD is less than 35% you are “deemed” to be partial disabled.  You can only receive TPD for 500 weeks which is about 9.5 years.. The weeks do not have to be consecutive, and payments may be spread over a longer period of time.

Examples of injuries or conditions that can fall under TPD include:

  • Back injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Post-Concussion injuries
  • Joint injuries
  • Trauma with ongoing injuries

Do I need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation program is great for both workers and employers. It streamlines the process of getting you the medical treatment you need and the money you deserve. It also saves an employer from costly litigation. However, the law is complex and your employer and insurance company will be supported by attorneys. You will need a certified workers compensation attorney by your side to protect your rights.