Maryland workers comp benefits-Temporary Total Benefits

While you are unable to work, the workers’ compensation insurance company as part of your Maryland Workers Comp benefits is responsible to pay two-thirds of your average weekly wage for every day you miss from work with a doctor’s excuse, except you do not get paid for the first three days until you have missed two weeks of work.

These payments are called temporary total benefits are a part of your Maryland Workers Comp benefits and are paid until the time when you have reached maximum medical improvement which means that they are paid until such time as the doctor says that your condition is now permanent and you will not get any better and no further treatment will help you.

Your average weekly wage is calculated by adding the last 14 weeks of gross pay before the accident together and then dividing by fourteen and this produces your average pay over that period. Workers compensation then pays you as part of your Maryland Workers Comp benefits two thirds of that number. If you have missed time from work for other reasons during those previous 14 weeks than this will affect the amount you are paid while you are off. If you worked more hours around the time of the accident but less hours for other weeks this will affect the average. Overtime is included as long as it occurred within the 14 weeks. Vacation or sick time for which you were not paid may be excluded from this calculation.

In calculating wages in addition to your salary, the Maryland workers comp commission must also consider housing allowance, lodging allowance, personal use of business vehicle, meals provided by employer, and rent subsidy provided by employer. Fringe benefits such as health insurance, pension benefits, 401K, IRA, lost vacation time are not included in the calculation of average weekly wage. This seems unfair since health and pension benefits could exceed the value of actual wages paid and often result in a lower wage because these benefits are paid in lieu of wages. Tips are included as part of the average weekly wage.

In calculating average weekly wage, periods of involuntary layoff and involuntary authorized absences are not included in the 14 weeks.Average weekly wage calculations should only include the weeks the employee actually worked as well as vacation days paid.If you worked less than 14 weeks because you are a new employee than only the actual weeks worked should count.If your employer laid you off for a week or longer or failed to put you on the schedule for a week or longer those weeks should not count.Bonuses owed or incurred prior to the injury but not paid until after the injury should be considered.

Second jobs income will not be considered as part of your average weekly wage. In addition, if you choose to work your second job, while unable to work the job you were injured on , you will not be eligible for temporary total although you may be eligible for temporary partial.

If you return to work after your accident and subsequently start missing more time from work, your average weekly wage will never increase even if you have received a raise since you originally hurt your self.

If an employee who is injured on the job returns to work for a period of time, voluntarily retires and then his medical condition from the work related accident worsens, then the retired employee may be entitled to temporary total again.

Temporary Total as part of your Maryland Workers Comp benefits may be paid despite an unemployment claim. The entitlement triggers for unemployment and temporary total are different.

1)  For Temporary Total as part of your Maryland Workers Comp benefits employee must be unable to perform the duties of the pre-injury employment.

2) Unemployment: must be ready, willing and able to be gainfully employed.

An Employee can be ready willing and able to do some new career which will meet his work injury restrictions but still be temporarily unable to do his old job. If the employee is actively looking for new job while still under treatment for old job there is nothing inconsistent in asking for both benefits. But you must disclose to the insurance company immediately if it is your intention to collect both so that it does not look like you were trying to perpetrate a fraud by hiding the unemployment claim. When you do not make a full disclosure up front you open the door for the insurance company to argue you could have been working at your old job since you are telling unemployment you are ready, willing and able. There is a huge amount of overlap between these definitions.  Temporary Total does not require abject helplessness, and everyone is capable of some kind of work.  The Workers Compensation Commission looks for an intent to game the system.  I had a claimant whose claim was contested and was otherwise entitled to temporary total, but he was also looking for employment in jobs that would fit his limitations.  He disclosed receiving unemployment, and we told the insurer.  The insurer fought temporary total at the hearing, however, the Insurer did not strenuously fight my request that the Workers Compensation order temporary total be paid at the rate of the difference between unemployment and the temporary total rate. Be aware that, if a claimant pursues unemployment benefits, he might not be able to get Temporary Total, but you can try. Each Commissioner has their own interpretation of the law.


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