Injured workers—especially those who suffer serious injuries and may require a long recovery period—often rely on workers’ compensation benefits to pay necessary expenses. So, it’s only natural that the employee and his or her family would be concerned about how long they could expect to receive benefits.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. How long workers’ compensation benefits last depends on a variety of factors, including the type of benefits in question.
Workers Compensation Benefits Maximum Duration by Type
Medical benefits generally remain payable under workers’ compensation for as long as treatment remains necessary. However, this may be limited if the injured worker enters into a settlement agreement. Typically, when a workers’ compensation carrier makes a lump-sum payment under a settlement, that amount is intended to cover any remaining medical expenses and the carrier will not pay additional medical bills.
Permanent total disability benefits may also last for the rest of the injured workers’ life. Unlike some other wage-replacement workers’ compensation benefits, permanent total disability benefits do not have a time cap, and are not subject to termination simply because the recipient reaches retirement age.
Temporary total disability and temporary partial disability benefits are not subject to a specific time limitation. However, they are limited by the injured worker’s recovery timeline. Both generally remain payable until the injured worker either is cleared to return to work or achieves “maximum medical improvement.”
Maximum medical improvement means that the injured worker has recovered to the greatest extent his or her physicians think is possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean full recovery, since some injuries cause lasting full or partial disability.
Permanent partial disability comes in different forms. The type that is intended to make up for lost earning capacity by supplementing wages—called “wage differential benefits”—is capped at five years or the point at which the recipient reaches age 67.
Other types, however, that are based on specific “scheduled” losses, other significant losses, or disfigurement have varying time caps.
Other Factors in Determining How Long Workers’ Compensation Benefits Last
It’s important to note that the timelines above are maximums under each benefit type. The actual duration of benefits will depend on a combination of factors too extensive to break out in detail in a blog post.
In addition, you should be aware that when a workers’ compensation claim is settled, that typically puts an end to all benefits.
The best source of detailed information about the type of benefits you may be entitled to and how long you might expect those benefits to last is an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney. Your attorney can review all aspects of your case and explain how the workers’ compensation requirements, maximum benefits periods, valuation of certain types of losses, and other factors will impact the type, amount, and duration of your workers’ compensation benefits.
Your attorney can also help build a case for the most favorable type and extent of benefits.
Get the Help You Need Today
Gathering information about your rights is a great first step toward securing the compensation you deserve. But, issues like duration of benefits can be complicated, and you can’t always rely on the information you receive from your employer or the workers’ compensation carrier. Often, that’s because the employer doesn’t understand all of the nuances of workers’ compensation determinations. But, in some cases, it’s because an employer or insurer wants to avoid paying you fair compensation.
To get straight information from someone who is on your side, schedule a free consultation today. Just call 630-232-7450 or fill out the contact form on this site.