Temporary total disability is an option in certain situations after having an injury in the workplace. The disability payment is part of workers' compensation and is paid to you by your employer's insurance provider. Before requesting disability payments, you need to understand the eligibility criteria and application process.
What Are the Eligibility Criteria?
To qualify for temporary total disability benefits, you must have an injury that is expected to keep you temporarily unable to work for a period of time. The amount of time can vary by state. For instance, in California, you have to be unable to work in your usual capacity for three days and your employer does not offer an alternative or modified method of working.
How Do You Apply?
To apply for benefits, you need to provide a note from your doctor that states how long you are expected to be off from work. The insurance provider has the option of agreeing or disagreeing with the doctor's decision. If the provider agrees, a start date for your benefits is provided.
What Can You Do If Denied?
In the event that your insurance provider does not agree that you qualify for temporary total disability, it might request that you be medically assessed by a physician of its choosing. If you want to ensure that the physician is not biased towards the insurance company, you can ask for a different provider. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance provider to select a physician that is agreeable to both parties.
If the insurance provider is still not convinced that you are entitled to benefits after the examination, you and your attorney can file an appeal with your state's labor board. A hearing will be scheduled and both parties can present their side.
When Do the Benefits End?
If you are approved for temporary total disability benefits at some point, it is important you understand they can end. If the doctor clears you to go back to work, regardless of whether or not you actually go, your benefits can be stopped. Some states place time restrictions on how long a person can receive benefits. They can also end if you are not going to improve and are receiving Social Security disability payments.
To ensure that you get the benefits that you are supposed to, work with a workers' compensation attorney. The attorney can help protect your rights and work with you to appeal a negative decision.
To learn more, contact a law firm like Hornthal Riley Ellis & Maland LLP.