Not all Colorado workers who have been injured on the job in a workplace accident or who are suffering from an occupational disease will be completely unable to work for the entire time they are recovering. For many, they can recover incrementally and begin working part-time. However, a common concern they will have is if they can continue getting workers’ compensation benefits to account for the wages they have lost by not working full-time and will still receive coverage for medical expenses. Understanding how returning to work part-time is handled is key to a case.
For workers who cannot get back to working full-time because of the medical issues, returning on modified duty with lower wages and hours can make the worker eligible to get temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. When this is calculated, the worker will get two-thirds of the difference from what the person’s weekly wages were when the injury came about and the earnings that he or she will get when working part-time. There is a maximum the law allows and it cannot be surpassed.
These wages will continue for a specified duration. That includes: when the person can get back to work at the wages earned before the injury; when the treating physician gives a written release to get back to modified work, there is an offer for this work and the worker starts or refuses; and if the treating physician comes to the determination that the worker has achieved maximum medical improvement (MMI) meaning that the issue that led to the disability has stabilized and there will be no improvement regardless of the medical treatment given.
Workers’ compensation can be a complex matter. Workers who might be able to get back to work and can only achieve a certain level for the time being or permanently can get TPD and receive a portion of their wages while also receiving workers’ compensation benefits. If there is confusion about this, a disagreement or any other problem, a law firm that helps people with their workers’ compensation claims should be called for guidance and advice.