How long your workers' compensation benefits last in Georgia depends on the extent of your disability. You may receive temporary benefits, but if you have a permanent disability, you may receive additional benefits
Temporary Disability Benefits Under Workers' Compensation Law
If a work injury causes you to miss work, you can receive temporary disability benefits.
When Temporary Disability Benefits Begin
If you miss more than seven days of work due to a work injury, you become eligible for temporary disability benefits and your benefits begin. The workers' compensation insurance carrier has 21 days, from the date you first missed work, to begin payment.
You receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a maximum amount set by the state. For an injury occurring on or after July 1, 2016, you can receive up to $575 per week.
When Temporary Total Disability Benefits End
You are granted benefits until you reach maximum medical improvement or at 400 weeks of temporary total disability benefits, whichever occurs first.
You reach maximum medical improvement when your doctor says your recovery is complete. In other words, your condition will not improve with more treatment.
Your Return to Work After Your Injury
You may return to work in a light duty job after your injury, or you may work fewer hours. You can receive temporary partial disability benefits if you earn less than before your injury. In addition to what you earn, you receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage for the difference in what you earned before and after your injury.
The maximum you can receive in temporary partial disability benefits is $383 per week if your injury occurred on or after July 1, 2016. These benefits continue until you reach maximum medical improvement or 350 weeks of temporary total disability benefits, whichever occurs first.
What Can Stop Your Temporary Disability Benefits
Certain events may stop your temporary disability benefits before you reach maximum medical improvement or before 400 weeks expire:
- You return to your job earning the same money as before your injury.
- Your doctor releases you to return to work without restrictions.
- You do not cooperate with your doctor.
To challenge the suspension of your benefits, contact a workers' compensation lawyer in Georgia for legal help.
Duration of Permanent Disability Benefits Under Workers' Compensation Law
Once you reach maximum medical improvement or the maximum time for your temporary disability benefits expires, your authorized treating physician will evaluate you to determine if you are permanently disabled.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Permanent and total disability involves severe injuries. If your doctor determines that you are totally and permanently disabled, your benefits continue for life.
Duration of Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
If your doctor finds permanent disability, but you are not declared totally disabled, Georgia workers' compensation law provides payment of benefits for injuries listed in a schedule and for unscheduled injuries.
A schedule lists certain body parts and how many weeks of benefits you receive for the total loss of the listed part:
- Thumb: 60 weeks
- Index finger: 40 weeks
- Middle finger: 35 weeks
- Ring finger: 30 weeks
- Little finger: 25 weeks
- Arm: 225 weeks
- Foot: 135 weeks
- Leg: 225 weeks
- Eye: 150 weeks
- Great toe: 30 weeks
- Other toes: 20 weeks
- Hand: 160 weeks
- Loss of hearing (one ear): 75 weeks
- Loss of hearing (both ears): 150 weeks
For example, if your physician says you lost 25 percent of the use of your hand, you receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage for 40 weeks.
If your injury does not fall within a part listed on the schedule, your award equals the amount assigned to the body as a whole, 300 weeks. For example, if your doctor says you have a 20 percent injury to the body as a whole as a result of a back injury, you receive benefits for 60 weeks.