- Benefits are limited
- Benefits are calculated based on a math formula
- Benefits are paid based on a percentage
- Virginia sets a minimum and maximum compensation rate
How Long Will You Be Able to Get Your Lost Wages Checks?
The answer, in general, is up to 500 weeks, and that’s about 9 and 1/2 years. So if you’re 30 years old and seriously injured, that means by the time you’re 40 your workers’ comp checks will be cut off, so it is not a guarantee that you’ll be taken care of for a long period of time.
The reality is that most people never get to 500 weeks, because if the doctor says you can do some type of work whether it is a work restriction of no lifting over 2 pounds and or working no more than 2 hours a week if the insurance carrier can find you a job within those light-duty work restrictions, then you are back at work. Each individual workers’ compensation claim will be a bit different.
How to Calculate Your Earnings
Under the Virginia Workers Compensation Act, lost wages are one of the benefits you can receive. When the doctor has you completely out of work, the lost wage benefit you can receive is called Temporary Total Disability (or TTD).
I have put together some instructions to help you calculate the amount of your Virginia workers’ compensation lost wage/TTD benefits.
Calculate Your Earnings
Collect all of your pay stubs for the 52 weeks prior to your injury (this includes overtime, per diem pay, bonuses and commission). Calculate your total gross earnings (not your take-home pay) over that 52 week period and divide the total gross earnings figure by 52. The resulting amount is your average weekly wage as defined under the Virginia Workers Compensation Act. Your average weekly wage will be used to determine other benefits as well (such as Permanent Partial Disability or Temporary Partial Disability) so it is good information for an injured worker to have, even if the doctor has not taken you out of work.
If you do not yet have 52 weeks of employment, a figure will be derived using the earnings of the similarly employed person at your place of work or in the local area.
Initial Lost Wage Compensation Rate
Multiply your average weekly wage by 66.66 percent (or 2/3rds for easy estimation). The resulting figure is your initial lost wage compensation rate, which is subject to certain adjustments as described below. This is the lost wage benefits rate that workers compensation insurance company will be paying you and it will also be the rate that all future calculations will be subject to.
The Wage Chart is a helpful tool for calculating your average weekly wage and your compensation rate (https://workcomp.virginia.gov/forms/wage-chart-form-7a)
Minimum & Maximum Workers Compensation Pay Rates
The Virginia Workers Compensation Commission does set minimum and maximum compensation rates for lost wage benefits. As of July 1, 2018, the maximum compensation rate has been set at $1,082.00 and the minimum compensation rate has been set at $270.50.
Update – As of July 1, 2022, the maximum compensation rate has been set at $1,290.00 and the minimum compensation rate has been set at $322.50.
To see the limits the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission has set forth, go here:(https://workcomp.virginia.gov/documents/rates-min-max-benefits-cola-mileage)
Who Pays Workers Compensation Benefits
The Workers Compensation Insurance Carrier pays the medical and lost wage benefits. Some insurance carriers offer direct deposit, however, most of them will send you a live check via US Mail.
When are Lost Wage Benefits Paid
In Virginia, lost wage benefits are paid only after a doctor has kept you out of work with a doctor’s note for a period of MORE THAN 7 days. If you are out of work for 7 days or less OR if you don’t have a doctor’s note, you will not be paid any lost wage benefits by the insurance carrier. If the doctor keeps you out of work for 21 days or more, then the insurance carrier can pay you for the first 7 days as well, however, this will not be paid until the 21-day requirement is met.
Virginia Workers Comp Benefits Chart
Take a look at the Compensation Benefits Chart. This chart lists the minimum and maximum wage compensation amounts for each calendar year past to present, as set forth by the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission. If your initial lost wage benefits compensation rate amount falls inside the range listed, you will receive the calculated amount in weekly benefits (or TTD), for as long as the Commission allows and if your worker’s compensation doctor has you out of work. If your initial lost wage compensation rate falls outside this range, it will be adjusted accordingly based on the minimum or maximum rates.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Medical Benefits
Of course, if you’ve been injured at work, one of your main concerns is going to be medical treatment. Depending on your injury, workers’ compensation law will most likely also provide for medical benefits. Under Virginia law, you’ll usually receive benefits to help pay for medical bills due to your work injury from an accident or an occupational disease that has developed on the job.
Medical expenses that are covered will be determined by several factors. Things like current and expected future medical expenses, additional medical care, and physical therapy will be accounted for. They will vary if you suffer from a temporary or permanent problem. Your injury may be seen as a permanent total disability, or you may get permanent partial disability benefits. The law may also award you compensation for the loss of use or permanent loss of specific body parts. In the most severe cases, you may also receive total disability benefits.
Workers’ compensation coverage can vary greatly for an injured employee that suffers a work accident depending on how the accident occurred, circumstances surrounding the accident, and that person’s actual job. No two workers’ comp claims are the same.
Speak To A Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you’re suffered a personal injury at work related to the job you perform, you most likely have a workers’ compensation case worth pursuing. The law applies to both full-time and part-time employees. If you’ve been hurt at work, or are suffering from an occupational disease, Injured Workers Law Firm can help you to file a claim and recover the benefits to which you are entitled.
If you would like more information on the Virginia workers compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney today (804) 755-7755. You can also contact us online to set up a confidential and free consultation at any time.
About the Author: Injured Workers Law Firm
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.