This question comes up a lot for injured workers, especially when the have been bounced between light duty work and completely off of work. Temporary total disability benefits (TTD) is pay for an injured worker when the workers’ compensation doctor has deemed it appropriate for them to be completely out of work due to their injury or injuries. Temporary partial disability benefits (TPD) is pay for an injured worker who is working in a lesser capacity due to their injury and, therefore, making less money. For example, if you return to work on light duty and are making a lower hourly rate than before the injury or if you are making the same hourly rate but working less hours because you are on light duty, you may be eligible for TPD benefits. Workers’ compensation insurance basically makes up the difference between the new lower gross wages and the pre-injury gross average wages (up to your “comp rate”).
Some people find that once they have been released to light duty, their employer is not able or not willing to accommodate their light duty restrictions and has the injured worker remain out of work. In this scenario, the injured worker could then receive Temporary total disability benefits because they are still out of work and not earning any wages. However, if you are NOT under an OPEN AWARD ORDER, you are required to be looking for light duty work (called “marketing”) in order to receive your benefits. When the doctor says you can do some kind of work/light duty but not your regular job, you must be looking for that kind of light duty job unless you are under an open award. It is best to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to find out if you need to be marketing in order to protect your benefits and to get you under an open award as soon as possible.
If you have questions about temporary total disability or 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 today (804) 755-7755.