When someone is hurt at work, most people realize that they have the right to bring a workers’ compensation claim. However, not everyone knows exactly what the benefits are available to them in workers’ compensation. Through the next few posts I will be discussing the different types of workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio.
Temporary Total Disability
Usually the first workers’ compensation benefit injured workers come across is temporary total disability. This is basically compensation for being unable to work due to the injury and is often referred to as TT or TTD. The payments are for temporarily being unable to work.
In order to be entitled to temporary total disability, two forms must be completed. First is the Medco14 – which is the form that the doctor completes listing the conditions causing the disability, and the work restrictions. The doctor also lists a timeframe that these restrictions are likely to be in place. The doctor can of course extend this by completing another Medco14. Most doctors fill out a Medco14 for 3 months at a time.
The second form is completed by the injured worker and it is called C84. The injured worker indicates when the last date worked was and indicates if any other income/compensation is being received – such as unemployment, paid time off, etc. It is important to complete this form correctly and truthfully as you cannot receive temporary total disability while being paid through another source if those other payments are compensating you for loss of income/work.
If you are getting paid from another source please discuss with an attorney. I have had clients who did not ask if the payments they were getting counted, and ended up having both a workers’ compensate overpayment and a criminal fraud charge brought against them – all because they didn’t ask.
Filing For Temporary Total And A Timeframe:
Once the Medco14 and C84 have been filed, the BWC can process your request for temporary total disability. If the claim (or the condition causing the disability) is not yet allowed, the BWC cannot approve temporary total until there has been a final decision on the claim/condition.
The BWC can approve the temporary total outright if there is enough information to do so. However, this is rare. In most cases the BWC will send the request for either a physician review or an examination with one of the state’s doctors. After that report comes back, the BWC can issue a decision to approve the temporary total if the doctor and employer agree to approve it.
If everyone does not agree to approve the temporary total, it will be sent for a hearing at the Industrial Commission. If temporary total is sent for a hearing, it will likely take a few months for the hearing process to be concluded due to scheduling and appeal periods.
How Temporary Total Is Paid:
Temporary total is paid every two weeks. If there is a back period of temporary total due, the first check will include that back period to make the payments “current”.
There are two different rates that temporary total is paid out at. The first 12 weeks of temporary total are paid at 72% of the Full Weekly Wage. After that, remaining temporary total is paid out at 66.67% of the Average Weekly Wage.
How Temporary Total Stops:
As I said at the beginning, these payments are by definition for a temporary inability to work. So they are not permanent and will eventually stop.
The most obvious way for temporary total to stop is if your doctor releases you back to work.
Another more common way for temporary total payments to stop is if you are found to reach maximum medical improvement – aka “MMI”. What this means is that a doctor (either yours, the state’s or the employer’s) has found that you have reached a treatment plateau and no further improvement is anticipated. It does not mean that you are better and can return to work.
Often my clients are concerned about the doctors saying they are MMI because they still have pain and difficulties. But temporary total is again temporary. If someone loses a leg, at some point the recovery for that loss will be done. They will have adjusted to a prosthetic. At that time they will be MMI and no longer entitled to temporary total. Its not that the leg grew back, but that there is nothing else that will help them get back to the way they were before.
Even though temporary total may end, not everyone can return to work at that time. There are other benefits available which may be of assistance at that time.
Temporary total is just one of the many benefits available in Ohio workers’ compensation. In the next post I will discuss another benefit that many people pursue when they are found MMI and no longer entitled to temporary total.