What Temporary Disability Benefits Can Injured Workers in Colorado Get?
Serving Injured Workers in Colorado
A guide to temporary partial (TPD) and temporary total (TTD) disability benefits in Colorado
Employees who miss more than 3 days (or shifts) of work due to a work injury may qualify for wage loss benefits called temporary disability benefits. Typically, temporary disability or “wage loss” benefits will pay two-thirds (66.67 percent) of your regular salary up to a maximum amount allowable in the state of Colorado.
However, many workers’ compensation insurers in Colorado try to find ways not to pay. They may argue that the doctor’s assessment isn’t correct and that you can actually work, or they may say your injury was caused by a non-work related event and is not covered – the possibilities are endless.
Let’s be absolutely clear:
Colorado workers’ compensation laws require most employers or their insurers to pay wage loss benefits if an on-the-job injury affects an employee’s paycheck in any way. This safeguard was put in place to protect injured workers from bankruptcy and financial ruin.
If you’re having problems obtaining your temporary disability benefits or any other compensation, contact an experienced Denver workers’ compensation lawyer at The Babcock Law Firm.
We’ll always be there for you through the whole process. Every step of the way.
What is Temporary Disability?
There are 2 different types of temporary disability:
You can receive TTD when you are completely disabled and not able to perform any tasks at work. Having to miss work for several months can be a crippling blow to you and your family. Temporary total disability benefits help make sure you can still meet your financial obligations while you’re being treated for an on-the-job injury. Even if it takes 10 years to treat your injury, you are entitled to receive TTD benefits.
You generally receive TPD when you can return to work but cannot perform all of your normal tasks or have to work fewer hours due to your illness or injury. If you are able to work but not at your pre-injury level and pay, temporary partial disability benefits help make up the difference between your reduced salary and what you were making before.
When Does Temporary Disability End?
There are several reasons why temporary disability benefits may be terminated, but here are 6 of the most common reasons:
- You go back to work at the salary and hours you had before the illness or injury. However, if you return at a lower wage, you may still be eligible for TPD.
- Your approved physician clears you to return to work as normal. This often applies even if your job is no longer available.
- Your physician clears you to return to work with a modified set of tasks and/or modified schedule.
- You reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI), meaning your physician has determined that your condition is stable and you will not improve with more medical care.
- You miss a scheduled doctor’s appointment with your authorized treating physician after being notified that doing so will cause your benefits to be terminated.
- Your employer terminates benefits because they think you were at fault for something unrelated to the injury or illness. (There is debate surrounding this reason because some employers will find unsubstantiated reasons for terminating employees to avoid paying for disability benefits.)
What Can I Do If My Temporary Disability Benefits Are Stopped?
If you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) and you aren’t able to fully recover from your illness or injury, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability (PPD) or permanent total disability (PTD).
Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) defines PPD as “a permanent loss of function to a body part or body system (nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system, etc.).” To qualify for PPD, your authorized treating physician has to evaluate your condition and assign a percentage to your permanent injury. From there, you may fall into one of 2 categories: scheduled impairment or non-scheduled impairment.
If your illness or injury is so severe that you cannot work or collect any wages after you’ve reached your MMI, you may qualify for permanent total disability. In this case, you are paid a weekly amount based on the average wage for the rest of your life.
Talk to a Denver Work Injury Attorney About Your Rights to Temporary Disability Benefits
Working through disability benefits can be difficult, especially when you’re dealing with a debilitating illness or injury. The sad truth is that many Colorado workers’ compensation insurers try to abrogate their responsibilities under the law, finding any excuse to not pay money you need to keep a roof over your head.
Contact the committed team at The Babcock Law Firm today to let us help you get the benefits you need.
Serving Injured Workers Throughout Colorado
From our office in Denver, we represent injured workers across the state—including in Colorado Springs, Littleton, Boulder, Aurora, Broomfield, Louisville, Lafayette, Lakewood, Golden, Thornton, Westminster, Longmont, Loveland, Fort Collins and many other Colorado cities.