An injury while at work could lead to financial hardship for an affected employee. They may have to miss work because of their condition, and they will likely require medical care. Thankfully, the workers’ compensation program in California helps protect people from the economic risk related to a severe injury or job-related health condition caused by their employment activities.
If someone gets hurt at work or diagnosed with a significant work-related condition, they can receive certain benefits. There is medical coverage that will pay for someone’s treatment costs. Workers may also qualify for disability pay until they can return to work. Temporary total disability benefits are one of the most important forms of support provided by the program. Those benefits can help a worker to pay their household expenses until they can fully return to work.
The state employs a formula for benefits
There is not a set amount of disability pay available. Instead, the payments reflect what someone usually earns. To establish what an injured worker will receive in disability pay, it is first necessary to establish their average weekly wage. Looking at their income will for that establish a baseline before their benefits. At most, workers may receive up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage. However, California imposes a maximum benefit amount based on the average wage of all workers across the state. As of 2023, the state average weekly wage is $1,651. That figure will change each year based on the income reported by California workers.
Workers in higher-paid professions will likely find that the temporary disability benefits they receive are worth far less than two-thirds of their average paycheck. However, having some income is better than having none at all. Temporary disability benefits can potentially last for up to five years after someone’s date of injury or diagnosis with a work-acquired medical condition.
Eventually, workers who cannot return to work may need to apply for permanent disability benefits. Others will lose their temporary disability benefits when they finally return to work. Understanding what kinds of coverage the state provides may help those concerned about their financial solvency after an injury on the job to make more informed decisions about their circumstances.