Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits You May be Entitled To
One of the many reasons applying for and receiving workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio is so difficult is that payments can come in many different forms. Succeeding with a workers’ comp claim depends in large part on asking for what the Ohio Workers’ Compensation office considers the “right” type of benefit. And that determination depends on a consideration of factors that include what kind of injury or occupational illness the applicant suffered, what symptoms developed, whether the person named as the victim is alive or dead, and how the incident that led to the injury or illness occurred.
Consulting with an experienced Cleveland workers’ compensation attorney early in the workers’ comp benefits application process will help ensure all the proper questions are answered. A lawyer who knows how to navigate the Ohio workers’ comp system will also make sure that appropriate and sufficient medical evidence, as well as all necessary reports from supervisors, co-workers, and other relevant groups, are submitted to the people who need to see them by the deadlines on which the documentation must arrive.
The Basics on Qualifying for Workers’ Comp
Before going into detail about what types of workers’ comp benefits are available for which purposes, it helps to understand what the basic qualifications for any benefits at all are. Briefly, an applicant must meet four criteria
- Get injured or fall sick on the job or while performing work-related activities;
- Have proof that the disabling condition is primarily physical in nature, rather than psychological or emotional
- Have proof that the injury or illness did not result from the applicant ignoring safety rules, breaking state or federal laws, or being impaired by drugs or alcohol; and
- File a claim within two years of the incident that caused the injury or occupational illness.
Collaborating with a Cleveland workers’ compensation attorney to clear these hurdles makes sense, especially since a great deal of paperwork must be completed. An independent investigation may also be required, and a lawyer will know how to make sure that any investigation is conducted fully and fairly.
Two-Sentence Explanations of Various Workers’ Comp Benefits
Using the terminology of the Ohio Workers’ Compensation office, a person can qualify for one or more of the following types of benefits.
- Temporary total: This most-commonly awarded benefit represents a proportion of the injured or ill worker’s pay at the time of the disabling incident. It is intended to tide people over until they recover enough to return to work.
- Scheduled loss: An amputation, hearing or vision loss, or complete loss of function in a body part qualifies a person for a fixed, usually lump sum, payment. The amount of a scheduled loss benefit is set by statute and cannot be negotiated.
- Percentage of permanent partial award: This can be a one-time or ongoing payment for an injury that does not fully heal or an illness that does not completely resolve. Recipients of this benefit, abbreviated as %PP, generally work but have limited range of motion in one or more limbs, have lingering health problems that prevent strenuous effort, or have lost their ability to function in high-stress environments.
- Permanent total disability: The beneficiary cannot return to work at all. Receiving this benefit requires passing an in-person examination and hearing conducted by workers’ comp officials, and requalifying is often necessary.
- Disabled Workers’ Relief Fund: This provides supplements to permanent total disability payments. Funds are allocated to raise a recipient to a minimum cost of living.
- Change of occupation: Industrial workers, miners, police personnel, and firefighters with specific disabling occupational illnesses can qualify for this benefit. The money can be used to support retraining or to supplement wages when a person takes a lower-paying job.
- Facial disfigurement: This one-time payment, capped at $10,000, is awarded as compensation for scars or damage to the face or head that is so severe that it makes returning to work at a sufficient wage difficult. The facial disfigurement award is made separately from and in addition to any other workers’ comp benefit determination.
- Wage loss: Individuals who must take lower-paying jobs after partially recovering from a disabling injury or illness may qualify for wage supplements. Proof must exist that the reduced earnings from work stem directly from the workers’ comp-eligible disability.
- Living maintenance wage loss: Similar to wage loss benefits, these payments are contingent upon completing a rehabilitation plan. Working for pay is also required.
- Living maintenance: Individuals on disability who are currently participating in a rehabilitation plan instead of working can qualify for living maintenance. These payments replace temporary total benefits.
- Violation of specific safety requirement: When an employer breaks a law or regulation put in place to protect workers’ lives and health, an injured employee or the dependent of an employee who got killed can seek a monetary award. This is not a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
- Death claims: A spouse or dependent child can collect workers’ comp benefits after a husband, wife, or parent gets killed on the job or dies from an occupational illness. Death benefits can be paid even if a person received workers’ compensation payments while still alive.
A Cleveland workers’ comp lawyer can negotiate lump sum payments for any of these benefits. Also, some advance payments from likely or scheduled awards can be requested for paying household bills, equipping a home with ramps and other disability accommodations, and buying or retrofitting a vehicle for handicap access.
You can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a Cleveland workers’ compensation attorney by calling Agee, Clymer, Mitchell & Portman at (800) 678-3318. You can also request an appointment online. We will come to you if you are too injured or ill to visit us.