Worker’s Compensation benefits fall into one of three categories: medical care, rehabilitation services and cash payments. Medical care benefits are usually wide-ranging, including not only doctor bills, but also medication, tests and medical equipment. Rehabilitation services can include treatment such as physical therapy or vocational rehab. When cash payments are made, it is typically in the form of compensation for lost wages. As the worker’s compensation laws often differ in each state, you should be familiar with how your state determines workers compensation weekly cash benefits.
Understanding weekly benefits for disabilities
Disabled employees receive weekly compensation benefits under Worker’s Compensation. The period of time for which an employee can receive these benefits differs from state to state, and depending on the type of benefit. To that end, Worker’s Compensation disability is classified as either temporary or permanent, and either total or partial. So, an injured employee could potentially have four different types of disability benefits:
- temporary total disability
- temporary partial disability
- permanent total disability
- permanent partial disability
Temporary vs. Permanent Disability under Worker’s Compensation
Temporary disability means that the employee is still recovering, but is expected to get better. Permanent disability means that, while the employee’s condition is stable, it is not expected to improve. Permanent disability is sometimes referred to as a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Total vs. Partial Disability under Worker’s Compensation
Total disability means that the injured employee is unable to work at any type of employment. On the other hand, partial disability means that the employee has retained some work capacity, for example, the ability to perform light duty work.
What is the SAWW?
The State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) is used to determine the maximum workers’ compensation benefits available for each year. Some states set their rates for the calendar year, while others use the fiscal year. Each state has defined the percentage of an injured employee’s average weekly wage, which will constitute the weekly cash payment to which the employee is entitled. This amount is also based on the type of injury or disability.
Missouri Weekly Wage benefits for 2015
For this current fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2015 and ending June 30, 2016, Missouri’s State Average Weekly Wage is $844.69. Therefore, the maximum weekly benefit rates for an injury or illness occurring on or after July 1, 2015, are as follows:
|Temporary Total Disability||$886.92|
|Permanent Total Disability||$886.92|
|Permanent Partial Disability||$464.58|
In Missouri, the cash benefit will equal 662/3% of the injured employee’s average weekly wage rate, not to exceed the state’s established maximum.
Arkansas Weekly Wage benefits for 2015
For this current calendar year, beginning January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015, Arkansas’ State Average Weekly Wage is $740.53. Therefore, the maximum weekly benefit rates for an injury or illness occurring on or after January 1, 2015, are as follows:
|Temporary Total Disability||$629.00|
|Permanent Total Disability||$629.00|
|Permanent Partial Disability||$472.00|
In Arkansas, like Missouri, the cash benefit equals 662/3% of the injured employee’s average weekly wage rate, not to exceed the state’s established maximum.
If you have questions regarding weekly cash benefits, or any other Worker’s Compensation issues, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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