Temporary Disability Benefits are one type of workers’ compensation benefit. They are payments an injured worker receives for lost wages during their recovery process if they are unable to do their usual job because of the work injury.

Who can get temporary disability benefits?

Workers are eligible if their primary treating physician says they're unable to do their usual job for more than three days or they were hospitalized overnight.

Workers are not eligible if their employer has other work the injured worker can do that pays the same wages as their usual job.

When do temporary disability benefits start?

For eligible workers, the first Temporary Disability Benefit payment will be issued within 14 days after both of the following events have happened:

  • The employer learns that the worker has a job injury or illness.
  • The worker’s primary treating physician says the injury prevents them from doing their job.

We will promptly issue the first payment as well as a letter explaining how the payment amount was calculated after we establish benefit eligibility. After the first payment, Temporary Disability Benefits will be paid every two weeks for as long as the worker is eligible.

Please note: The first three days of disability with time loss from work are not covered by Temporary Disability Benefits unless the injured worker has an overnight hospital stay or the temporary disability lasts more than 14 days (at which point these first three days will be paid retroactively).

How much does temporary disability benefits pay?

Temporary Disability Benefits are usually paid at two-thirds of the gross (pre-tax) wages a worker loses while they’re recovering, and aren’t subject to these types of deductions:

  • Federal, state, or local income taxes
  • Social Security taxes
  • Union dues
  • Retirement fund contributions

Determining exact benefit amounts can be complex. That’s why it’s crucial that both the employer and the injured worker provide accurate wage information and current work status to their claims adjuster as soon as possible. Benefit calculations can be more involved for workers who have these complicating factors:

  • They had a second job when injured
  • They had a seasonal job
  • They had changes to their wages within the last year
  • They earned other income like tips, overtime, bonuses, housing subsidies, clothing, or car allowances
  • They were scheduled for a wage increase after the date of injury
  • They found other work after the injury
  • They are eligible for Temporary Disability Benefits two years or more after the date of injury

Types of temporary disability benefits

There are two types of Temporary Disability Benefits:

Temporary Partial Disability – For injured workers able to perform some work during the recovery process but earn less than their normal income. Temporary Partial Disability usually pays two-thirds of the difference.

Temporary Total Disability – For injured workers who can’t perform any available modified or alternative work during the recovery process or where no such work is available. Temporary Total Disability usually pays two-thirds of the worker’s normal income.

When do temporary disability benefits end?

Temporary Disability Benefits end when any of these following events take place:

  • The worker’s treating doctor says they can return to their usual job (whether or not they actually return to work).
  • They are released to available modified or alternative work that pays at or higher than their regular wages (or at wages meeting the maximum limit on average weekly earnings).
  • The worker has reached a point where their condition is not improving and not getting worse. When this happens, the condition is called “Maximum Medical Improvement”. At this point, they may be able to receive Permanent Disability Benefits.

Depending on when the injury occurred, there may also be a time-based limit on how much Temporary Disability Benefits can be paid. For Example:

  • If the injury was on or after January 1, 2008 - The injured worker can receive up to 104 weeks of Temporary Disability Benefits within five years from the date of injury, unless it is one of the more serious injuries listed in the Labor Code that allow for lengthier periods of Temporary Disability.

When Temporary Disability Benefits end, we will send the worker a letter within 14 days after the final payment. The letter explains why the payments are stopping and lists all Temporary Disability Benefit payments sent to the worker.

If the treating physician says the worker will never recover completely, the worker may be eligible to receive Permanent Disability Benefits. They may also be eligible for Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits if their employer has no work available to the injured worker due to their injury.