Temporary total disability benefits are just one of the many benefits available to injured workers in Georgia under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws. This benefit is available under certain circumstances when an injured worker cannot return to their job because they are still recovering from their work injury or illness.
Georgia Workers’ Compensation – Gearhart Law Group
At Gearhart Law Group, we are dedicated to helping injured workers receive the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve while they focus on healing and recovery. Our team is available to help injured workers in many different areas of the state of Georgia.
Following a meeting with you to learn more details about your case, our lawyers are ready to take action immediately to move forward with your claim to push for the benefits and medical treatment you need. Contact us today to learn more about your available workers’ compensation benefits.
Who Is Eligible for Temporary Total Disability Benefits?
Injured workers in Georgia are eligible for temporary total disability benefits if they miss seven or more workdays due to their injury. This benefit is typically paid out on a weekly basis via check. After suffering a work-related illness or injury, you should receive your first temporary total disability payment check within twenty-one days of the first day of disability.
In most cases, injured workers who miss fewer than seven days of work because of their injury are not entitled to temporary total disability benefits. However, Georgia workers’ compensation laws allow workers who require 21 or more consecutive days off of work to get paid for those initial seven days. If you are unsure about whether you are owed temporary total disability benefits, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine your eligibility and help you obtain this payment.
Do I Need a Doctor’s Note to Be Eligible for Temporary Total Disability Benefits in Georgia?
To establish temporary total disability benefit eligibility, your authorized treating physician must verify both your disability and your need to take time off work. Your Georgia workers’ compensation attorney can help you ensure that you have the documentation necessary in order to both obtain and maintain your workers’ compensation benefits.
How Much Can I Receive in Temporary Total Disability Benefits?
Generally, temporary total disability benefits are paid out at a rate of two-thirds of the injured worker’s average weekly wage. However, there is a state minimum and maximum amount that is applicable to this benefit.
For example, if you were injured on or after July 1, 2022, the maximum amount that you can receive in temporary total disability benefit payments is $725.00 per week. This means that even if you make $100,000 per year—which would bring your average weekly wage to an amount over that threshold—you are still capped at $725.00 per week for your temporary total disability benefit checks.
Are There Any Limits to How Long I Can Receive Temporary Total Disability Payment Checks?
The amount of time that you are eligible to receive temporary total disability payment benefits depends on a few different factors. First, this benefit is only paid out while an injured worker cannot return to work as a result of their work-related injury based on a doctor’s recommendation. If your doctor concludes that your injuries have resolved and you can go back to work, you will no longer receive your temporary total disability payment checks.
Another factor that impacts the amount of time an injured worker can receive temporary total disability benefits is the type of injury that they have. It is important to note that benefits are unlimited for catastrophic injuries, while non-catastrophic injuries have a limit of 400 weeks of benefits (assuming that the injury occurred on or after July 1, 1992.)
A worker with a catastrophic injury case in Georgia is eligible for temporary total disability benefit checks for as long as they are unable to work. As soon as a worker with this type of injury does return back to work, this benefit will no longer be paid out. However, that worker can be eligible for other types of benefits, such as temporary partial disability payments (if they returned to work in a lower paying position), or permanent partial disability benefits.
What Is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?
Whether or not your work-related injury is catastrophic can impact your long-term eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia. For this reason, it is crucial to understand what is considered a catastrophic injury for these purposes to ensure you are receiving the full benefits to which you are entitled.
In general, catastrophic injuries are very severe. For example, injuries involving extensive burns on a person’s face or body or the loss of a limb often fall into the category of catastrophic. If you have a catastrophic injury case, your employer must appoint a rehabilitation supplier with experience handling catastrophic injury cases. Injured workers with catastrophic injury cases should strongly consider hiring a workers’ compensation attorney with knowledge and experience handling these matters.
What Happens Next If My Treating Physician Thinks That I Am Permanently Disabled?
In some cases, an authorized treating physician in a workers’ compensation case might conclude that the injured worker is actually permanently disabled. Under these circumstances, the injured worker continues to be paid temporary total disability benefits for as long as they are considered to be disabled.
If an injured worker who is considered to be permanently disabled chooses to return to work, that individual would then become eligible to receive permanent partial disability benefit payments.
Permanent partial disability benefits are based on the injured worker’s permanent disability rating. The injured worker’s authorized treating physician typically conducts an assessment and issues the worker a permanent disability rating, when appropriate.
The treating physician determines the permanent disability rating in accordance with the AMA Guidelines. In most cases, this rating is given in the format of a percentage of disability. An injured worker who has a permanent disability resulting from their work-related injury or illness is eligible to receive this benefit payment regardless of what their wage rate or total income amount is.