Injured workers in Georgia are entitled to certain benefits under Georgia workers’ compensation laws. One of these benefits is temporary partial disability payments.
Temporary partial disability benefits are a type of income benefit that an injured worker in Georgia is entitled to under specific circumstances. Keep in mind that an injured worker can only receive one type of income benefit at a time. For example, you would not be able to receive temporary total disability benefits at the same time as temporary partial disability benefits.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits Attorneys
If you have questions regarding your eligibility for temporary partial disability benefits, the Gearhart Law Group can help. The Gearhart Law Group fights for injured workers in Georgia to receive the temporary partial disability benefits to which they are entitled.
Our workers’ compensation attorneys have successfully obtained workers’ compensation benefits, including temporary partial disability, for injured Georgia workers for many years. If you have been injured in a work accident, or suffer from a work-related illness, contact our law office today to learn more about what we can do for you.
Who Is Eligible for Temporary Partial Disability Benefits?
In some cases, an injured worker may be able to return to work before fully completing treatment for their injury. These workers might not be able to perform the same work tasks they were handling before their injury because they are still recovering.
Sometimes, the different job someone takes on while still healing pays less money than they had been earning before the injury. Under these circumstances, injured workers are entitled to receive a regular payment equal to two-thirds of the difference between their average weekly wage prior to their injury and their current wage, subject to a maximum. This benefit is called temporary partial disability.
How Do I Calculate My Temporary Partial Disability Benefit Payment?
To accurately calculate your temporary partial disability benefit payment, you will need to know your average weekly wage prior to the date of your injury. This is calculated by determining the average amount you were paid each week, going back 13 weeks prior to your injury.
Next, you will your gross wages for the new job that you are working. Subtract your gross wages from your average weekly wage prior to your injury. This sum is the difference between the two wage rates.
Now, calculate two-thirds of the difference that you just calculated above. This number will be the regular payment you should receive for as long as you are entitled to temporary partial disability benefits (unless your new wage rate changes, in which case this amount will be recalculated). Additionally, this amount is subject to the state-determined maximum rate, meaning that you cannot receive more than that amount.
Here is an example of a temporary partial disability benefit calculation:
If you made $600 per week before your injury, and your new job only pays $300 per week, the difference in wage rate is $300. Next, you would calculate two-thirds of that difference ($300). Two-thirds of $300 is $200. Therefore, your temporary partial disability benefit payments will be $200 per week.
How Long Can I Receive Temporary Partial Disability Benefits?
This workers’ compensation income benefit is designed to make up the difference in wage rate for someone who must work a lower-paying job because of their work injury. Temporary partial disability benefits are available for up to 350 weeks from the date of the injury. If you are released from medical treatment without any work restrictions by your doctor, you will be expected to return to work and your temporary partial disability benefits will be discontinued.
To continue receiving benefits for this full period, you must meet certain requirements. Your Georgia workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand your eligibility for temporary partial disability benefits and for how long you can expect the benefits to be paid.
What Is Light Duty Work?
If an injured worker is still receiving medical treatment for their work-related injury or illness, their doctor may determine that they can go back to work with certain restrictions. For example, someone with a back injury might be able to return to work, but with a light duty restriction stating that they cannot lift more than 20 pounds. The injured worker’s treating physician determines the appropriate work restrictions or limitations.
When the employer of an injured worker is able to provide that worker with light duty work meeting these requirements, the injured worker must show up and try to perform the work to the best of their ability. Under Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Statute, there is a grace period of 15 workdays for this purpose.
The 15-day grace period allows the injured worker to try to perform the work within their restrictions without the fear that they will lose their benefits if they are physically unable to perform the tasks. A reasonable attempt is considered working one full workday or eight hours of work—whichever is greater.
What Happens If My Doctor Gives Me Light Duty Work Restrictions, But My Employer Cannot Accommodate Them?
Some employers are unable to accommodate light-duty work restrictions set by treating physicians. If this happens to you, and you cannot work because your employer does not have a position for you, you are still eligible to receive workers’ compensation income benefits. Typically, you would receive temporary total disability benefits in this scenario since you would not be working at all.
However, if you have been unable to work while under a light duty work restriction for 52 consecutive weeks, your income benefits will be automatically reduced from the temporary total disability benefit amount to the maximum temporary partial disability benefit that you are eligible for. For a number of different reasons, injured workers might fluctuate between going back to work with light-duty work restrictions or being taken off of work completely by their doctor. In these cases, at a maximum of 78 total calendar weeks, your current income benefits will automatically be reduced from the temporary total disability payment to the maximum temporary partial disability benefit.