In our last post, we looked briefly at a recent report which found that the average time Illinois workers take off when they are injured is greater than in surrounding states, and that this may be due to the way the workers’ compensation system in Illinois is set up. Regardless of the reasons, injured workers do have rights and employers are required to honor these rights.
Temporary total disability benefits are available to Illinois workers who are determined by their doctor to be either temporarily unable to return to do work of any kind, or when an employer is unable to accommodate an employee who has been approved for light-duty work. In either case, temporary total disability benefits amount to two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage, though there are maximum and minimum limits.
For those who earn a low wage, the minimum may actually be greater than what they ordinarily bring in, and this could create an incentive to stay at home longer. For those who are seriously injured, though, taking enough time off work to recover is important. Employers are required to pay temporary total disability benefits up to the point where the injured employee reaches “maximum medical improvement,” which essentially indicates the point at which the injured employee has recovered as much as he or she is going to recovery. This determination is made by his or her physician.
For injured workers, problems can sometimes arise receiving temporary total disability benefits, whether with respect to delays in payment, miscalculation of payments, discontinuation of payments, and so on. Working with an experienced advocate is important in such situations to ensure an injured worker’s rights are protected.