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 check 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 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 work restrictions, then you are back at work.
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.
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.
Who Pays Workers Compensation Benefits
The Workers Compensation Insurance Carrier pays the medical and lost wage benefits. Some insurance carrier’s 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.
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.