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How much can I earn while collecting workers compensation?

The Worker's Compensation Act compensates workers who are injured on the job and miss work due to that injury. The Act does not however replace a worker's full wage while he is recovering from a work related injury.

When a person is injured or becomes sick due to work, they are generally covered by the Worker's Compensation Act. This means that the injured worker is entitled to receive payments for lost wages and medical expenses and out of pocket expenses related to treatment reimbursed. While an injured worker recovers from his injury, he is entitled to Temporary Total Disability or TTD.

In order to receive TTD payments for lost time, an employee must be out of work for more than three consecutive days due to the work related injury before any payment is made. If the injured worker is able to return to work in less than three days from the date of injury, there is no payment of lost wages. An injured worker out of work for more than three days is entitled to 2/3s of his weekly wage, up to the state maximum. An injured worker who qualified for TTD payments will be compensated back to the first date of lost wages.

The state maximum changes about once a year and in 2009 the maximum is $808. The maximum amount is determined by the amount allowed on the date of injury, not on the date of recovery (i.e., if a claim for a 2006 injury is settled in 2009, the TTD rate is calculated based on the 2006 maximum TTD rate).

The TTD calculation is made on an individual analysis of the injured workers wages. An injured worker is not entitled to collect up to the maximum, but rather he cannot collect more than the maximum regardless of his weekly wage. For example, if an injured worker receives $600 per pay period, his weekly wage is $300, therefore his TTD wages are $200 per week. If an injured worker earns $1500 per week, 2/3s of his weekly wage is $1,000 however he will only receive the maximum TTD wages of $808.

In addition to TTD wages, all medical bills should be covered by workers compensation, including prescription costs and office visit co-pays. Any co-pay or prescription receipts should be submitted to the workers compensation carrier.

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