Workers’ compensation benefits are available to anyone who suffers a work-related injury as long as their employer has purchased workers’ comp protection coverage. However, the amount of benefits and how long you can continue receiving them will depend on how your disability is rated.
One of the most common types of benefits available is temporary total disability benefits. In South Carolina, if you are eligible for temporary total disability benefits, getting the insurance company to compensate you fairly is crucial. With help from a workers’ compensation lawyer at Shelly Leeke Law Firm, you can ensure your disability is evaluated accurately so you can access the workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to receive.
How Temporary Disability Benefits Work in South Carolina
Temporary disability benefits are designed to provide you with a portion of your lost income when you cannot continue working due to your occupational disease or on-the-job injury. According to S.C. Code §42-9-200, you must be injured enough that you need to take at least seven calendar days off of work to begin receiving temporary disability benefits unless you are out of work for 14 days or longer.
There are two types of temporary disability benefits. These include temporary total disability and temporary partial disability benefits.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits
When you need to take time off work to heal from work-related injuries, you can generally expect to collect approximately 2/3 of your average weekly wages. However, every year, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC) sets a maximum amount allowable under the law. According to S.C. Code §42-9-10, for 2023, the maximum amount is set at $1035.78.
These benefits are known as temporary total disability benefits and will generally continue until you can return to work. Your benefits may be terminated or converted once you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is where your healthcare provider determines your medical condition has improved as much as they expect, and they do not expect you to get any better.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits
Temporary partial disability benefits are similar to temporary total disability benefits, except you may be able to continue working at a reduced rate or for fewer weekly hours while you recuperate from your injury. For instance, TPD benefits may apply if your healthcare provider has placed restrictions on you, such as how many pounds you can lift, how many hours you can stand at one time, or how many hours you should be working in a day.
When you can return to work at a reduced rate, you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The insurance company will take into consideration the income you are currently earning. You are still entitled to approximately 2/3 of your average weekly wages.
However, your compensation will be reflected at 2/3 of the difference between what you are earning now and your pre-injury wages. For example, if you generally earn $700 each week but are now only earning $500 each week, taking on less responsibility, you would subtract 500 from 700, leaving you with a $200 deficit. You will be entitled to 2/3 of the $200, or approximately $133 each week. It is important to note that according to S.C. Code § 42-9-20, TPD benefits have a limit of 340 weeks.
What Are Permanent Disability Benefits in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, you are not only eligible for temporary disability benefits. If your injuries are severe enough, you may be entitled to permanent disability benefits.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD) for Specific Injuries
Permanent total disability benefits mean you have lost vision in both eyes or both of your:
Additionally, if you have lost a minimum of 50% of the use of your back, the SCWCC will consider you totally and permanently disabled unless the insurance company provides sufficient evidence proving otherwise. PTD benefits are paid at the same rate of 2/3 of your average weekly wages, with a maximum limit of 500 weeks. However, individuals dealing with paraplegia or are permanently disabled through brain trauma or other traumatic injuries may continue receiving benefits for the rest of their lives.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) for Scheduled Losses
Permanent partial disability means you have permanently lost the use of a part of your body. PPD benefits are paid at the same rate of 2/3 of your average weekly wages prior to your injuries. The affected body part will determine how long you can continue receiving PPD benefits.
For example, if you lost a foot, the maximum number of weeks you could continue collecting workers’ comp benefits is 140 weeks under S.C. Code § 42-9-30. However, your impairment rating will determine how long you can collect benefits. For example, if you lost 65% of the use of your foot, you could expect to receive workers’ compensation benefits for a maximum of 91 weeks.
Other Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits Available in South Carolina
In addition to temporary disability benefits and the potential for permanent disability benefits, you also have the right to other types of workers’ compensation. These include:
- Total coverage of your health care and medical expenses
- Costs of on-the-job training or educational expenses as vocational rehabilitation benefits
- Death benefits to surviving family members of individuals who pass away from fatal work injuries
Meet with a South Carolina Workers’ Comp Attorney Today
Temporary total disability benefits in South Carolina may only be available for a limited amount of time. If you believe your injury has not been rated fairly or you should be receiving permanent partial or total disability benefits, it is crucial to work with an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney so you can get the benefits you deserve.
Get help holding the insurance company accountable when you contact our team at Shelly Leeke Law Firm for a no-cost, risk-free consultation. Start working on your workers’ comp claim or appeal when you fill out our quick contact form or call our office to take advantage of this opportunity.