If you have been hurt on the job in Illinois and have filed a workers’ compensation claim, you may be asking yourself, “How long can I collect workers’ compensation benefits?” The answer depends on the type of workers’ compensation benefits that you mean.
In Illinois, your workers’ compensation claim entitles you to receive medical treatment for your work injuries at no direct cost to yourself. While you are off of work for treatment, you may also collect Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits, which are typically equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage. TTD benefits are paid until one of the following happens:
- You are released back to work without medical restrictions;
- You are released back to work with medical restrictions; or
- You reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), meaning that your medical condition has been stabilized to the point that no major changes in your health can be expected.
If you are released to return to your old job or to a less physically demanding “light duty” position that your employer can accommodate, TTD will be terminated, whether or not you actually return to work. If you have work restrictions that your employer cannot accommodate, however, you may still be entitled to TTD benefits.
Once TTD has been terminated, there are other workers’ compensation benefits that may still be available to you, including the following:
- Vocational training, if you need to change professions because of physical limitations.
- Maintenance benefits, which should not be less than your TTD rate and should also include the costs and expenses incidental to your vocational training program.
- Wage differential benefits, to offset the economic impairment of the reduced wages that you are able to earn at a new job that is different from the one that you can no longer do because of your work injury.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits, which is compensation for the permanent nature of a work injury based upon the body part injured and typically paid as a lump sum. If, however, your workers’ compensation case needs to go to trial before an arbitrator, you can only be awarded weekly benefits, not a lump sum. Please also note that you cannot receive PPD and wage differential benefits at the same time.
As for how long one can receive workers’ compensation benefits, it can be for the rest of a claimant’s life or for a limited period of time, depending on the circumstances. If a claimant was injured before 2011, for example, he or she could be eligible for wage differential benefits for the rest of his or her life. For work injuries that occur after 2011, wage differential benefits would only be paid up to age 67 or for five years, whichever is greater. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney may be best able to advise you on how long you may receive workers’ compensation benefits and for which ones you may be eligible.
How Can I Make Sure That I Get the Workers’ Compensation Benefits I Deserve?
If you have been injured while doing your job in Illinois and want to make sure that you get the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve, you might consider seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney, such as the Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers.
With over $2 billion recovered for our clients and offices throughout the state, GWC is Illinois’ largest Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury law firm.