When you get hurt and you are suddenly unable to continue working, you may not be ready to absorb the loss of your income. An injury won't care that you have a mortgage and other bills to pay. Most people don't have enough money in savings to cover their monthly expenses for as long as it can take to heal from a back injury or a broken bone.
Regardless of how much money you have in savings, if you get hurt on the job, you may be able to qualify for temporary disability benefits to help protect you from the financial consequences of not being able to work. The entire point of workers' compensation insurance is to protect workers from financial devastation after a job-related injury or illness.
Every state has its own standards for workers' compensation insurance. California workers can receive a portion of their wages for as long as they qualify for temporary disability benefits. However, there are limits on how much you can receive. Understanding what benefits are available can help you plan for your finances during your recovery.
The state has a routinely adjusted cap on disability benefits
In general, temporary or permanent disability benefits can provide a worker with up to two-thirds of their standard weekly wages, however, there are special rules for especially high and low earners. For workers with an average weekly pay of below $281.57 (which is about $7 per hour at 40 hours a week), temporary benefits will be $187.71.
Some people make wages so much higher than the average workers that it simply isn't feasible for disability benefits to pay them a fair portion of that wage. As a result, California caps the weekly maximum benefit for disability payments at roughly $1,250. The good news is that the state routinely reviews and adjusts that maximum amount to make sure it reflects inflation and cost of living.
Disability benefits can close the gap until you go back to work
If you have a good prognosis and know you will be able to return to work, you might feel like you shouldn't receive disability benefits. However, temporary disability exists for exactly your situation. Wage-earners shouldn't have to worry about their families struggling because they get hurt on the job. The benefits that you receive will protect you and your family. That is the reason they exist.
Knowing your rights and the way the system works can help you make more informed decisions and make it easier overall for you to successfully connect with workers' compensation benefits after an injury on the job. An experienced attorney familiar with California's workers' compensation insurance program can advise you about how to move forward.