How Long Can You Stay on Workers’ Comp. in Massachusetts?

Getting – and keeping – workers’ compensation benefits can be a hassle.  In Massachusetts, your benefits will depend on your average weekly wages at the time of the injury and the expected length of your disability. it is important to speak with a lawyer about the specific details of your case, but you can usually tell the limit on how long you will receive workers’ comp. benefits in Massachusetts by looking at the category your injury falls into.

Temporary benefits usually last for up to 156 weeks for total incapacity and 260 weeks for partial incapacity.  Permanent benefits are, as the name implies, permanent and last until your total disability ends.  These are separate from medical benefits, which last as long as you need them, and one-time payments for some permanent injuries.

For help with your workers’ compensation claim, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan’s Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys today at (617) 925-6407.  We offer free initial case reviews.

Maximum Length of Workers’ Compensation Wage-Loss Benefits in Massachusetts

Workers’ compensation benefits are typically designed to last for a set number of weeks to compensate you for lost wages during that period.  Wages will typically be paid at a rate equal to a certain percentage of your average weekly wages from the 52 weeks prior to the injury.  Those benefits will last for a different length of time based on whether your injury is permanent or temporary and whether the injury is total or partial.  For more details on the information provided here and more, you can also visit the Massachusetts government website.

Total Temporary Benefit Limits

Injuries lead to “total temporary” claims when the injury prevents you from working entirely, but only for a limited time.  For example, a back injury might lay you up – literally – for a few weeks, making it impossible to do your job.  For injuries that will only keep you out of work for a short while, the benefits are classified as total, but temporary.

With temporary total injuries, your benefits can last a maximum of 156 weeks.  However, you cannot get these benefits in the first place if your injury will keep you out of work for less than 21 days.  You also do not get benefits for your first 5 days out of work; benefits start on the 6th day out of work.  This limits how many days, overall, you can get benefits for.

Your specific injury might result in less than 156 weeks of benefits if it is determined you can return to work sooner.

Partial Temporary Benefit Limits

If your injuries only partially affect your ability to work, and only for a limited time, they fall under the partial temporary benefit category.  Injuries in this category could be injuries that cause you to tire faster, meaning you have to work less in a given week.  You could also potentially be put on light duty work or assigned to a different job as an accommodation, potentially resulting in lower pay during that accommodation.

Since you can still work during this time, you are still making some level of wages.  This results in two policies.  First, your weekly workers’ compensation benefits will be lower than normal each week to account for the fact that you are still working.  Second, these benefits can last for a longer time – up to 260 weeks instead of the 156 weeks for total injuries.

Many workers can count on these benefits longer than they can total benefits, so it may be better, overall, to get back to work and make up a lost portion of your wages through workers’ compensation benefits, if your injury allows it.  Talk to a Boston workers’ compensation attorney for more information about how your specific injury will be classified and whether you would be eligible for the full 260 weeks of lost wage payments.

Permanent Partial Benefit Limits

Workers often face permanent injuries, such as amputation, loss of an eye, or loss of function in a limb.  These injuries are permanent and will affect the workers’ ability to work for the rest of their life.  But many of these injuries are not totally disabling, allowing workers to get back to working and supporting themselves after their recovery.

To help you deal with many of these injuries, workers’ compensation pays specific benefits under Section 36 of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act.  These injuries entitle injury victims to their average weekly wages multiplied by a certain number assigned to that injury.  Some of these injuries come with a total cap, usually limiting the worker to the state’s average weekly wage at the time of the injury rather than the worker’s specific average weekly wages.

In these cases, the payments are paid in a sum rather than as ongoing weekly wage benefits, so there is no maximum number of weeks.

Total Permanent Benefit Limits

Injuries that completely block you from being able to work anymore are considered both permanent and total.  If your injuries are permanent and total, you could be entitled to ongoing wage payments at 66% of your average weekly wages.  These ongoing wages are subject to a cap at the state average weekly wage value, but there is also a minimum payment value at 20% of that average.

These wage benefits can last indefinitely since they are tied to your total disability rather than any statutory limitations.  If you do eventually recover from your disability and are no longer disabled, these workers’ compensation benefits could end.  it is important to check in with a Malden workers’ compensation benefits lawyer for help if the nature of your injuries is ever called into question or your benefits are terminated.

Because these benefits could last for years to come, you can also receive a yearly cost of living adjustment to reflect the increase in expenses.

How Long Do Medical Benefits Last Through Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation?

The goal with workers’ compensation is to provide you with replacement wages while you cannot work and to cover your medical bills associated with the injury.  Although workers’ comp. might have restrictions on how it pays these medical benefits and what procedures are covered in the first place, the intent is that these benefits last as long as you still need medical care for your workplace injuries.

Talk to a Somerville workers’ compensation lawyer about the potential limits on these benefits.  The insurance company might try to deny treatment if they no longer believe the care to be necessary, which is common after these benefits go on for a long time. A Boston amputation injury lawyer can help you fight the denials or terminations.

Call Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today

If you suffered an injury in the workplace and need help with your workers’ compensation benefits, contact the Cambridge workers’ comp. attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan.  Call us at (617) 925-6407 for a free review of your case.