Can workers’ compensation “run out”?
Illinois workers’ compensation is not bound to a fixed schedule
Some accommodations for temporary disability, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, are bound to a strict schedule. According to the regulations of the FMLA, workers are provided up to 12 weeks of leave after the birth of a child or the critical illness of a close family member. When the 12 weeks are up, the employer is no longer required to continue offering leave. Workers’ compensation is not like FMLA leave. It does not automatically end after a fixed term. It is designed to support workers until they are able to go back on the job.
Not all workers’ compensation is on the same timeline
Every work accident is slightly different. Some injured workers need only a week or two of rest and recuperation before returning to their normal duties. Other workers must recover for a year or more, as a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney is aware. A minority of injured employees are forced to retire for life.
Different kinds of benefits
Illinois workers’ compensation law recognizes the needs of employees by providing the four following kinds of benefits:
- Permanent total disability (for gravely injured workers who must retire)
- Permanent partial disability (for workers who lose the use of body parts)
- Temporary total disability (for recovery after seriously disabling injuries)
- Temporary partial disability (for recovery after less disabling injuries)
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission offers benefits in these four categories according to the needs of each individual worker. Benefits are paid until the recovery has progressed as far as it will go.
Timelines for compensation
IWCC guidelines provide a maximum duration for partial disability benefits. According to IWCC regulations, the loss of use of an arm, for example, entitles the injured worker to disability benefits for a period up to 323 weeks. If the worker has not recovered and is still unable to support himself or herself at the end of the benefit period, the IWCC will reach a settlement for future financial support. The employer and the insurer are responsible for alleviating the long-term consequences of the work injury.
Illinois law is designed to protect workers who have been partially or totally disabled on the job. Injured employees should consider calling a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney.