When you are unable to work or return to as high paying of a position because of a job-related injury or medical condition, being able to receive some of your wages through the workers’ compensation system is essential. If you are like most families, you cannot live on only one income, or if you were the sole provider, no income at all. You may be able to take on a part-time or lower paying job after your injury and it still may not be enough. You rely on wage loss compensation to ensure you can pay your mortgage or rent on time and put food on the table.
At Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA, we understand figuring out whether you are eligible for certain workers’ compensation benefits can be confusing, and that is before you even try to apply. That is why our legal team, which includes certified workers’ compensation attorneys Victor Kademenos and Adrienne Hines, is here to help you receive the benefits you deserve. Call us today at (419) 625-7770 to schedule a consultation.
When Wage Loss Compensation is Available
Even if you have found a job after being injured at a previous position, you may still be entitled to wage loss compensation. It is not only for when you are completely out of work due to a disability. The purpose is to supplement your income when you are now earning less because of a work-related injury, medical condition, or disability.
Specifically, there are two situations in which you may be eligible to receive wage loss compensation benefits:
- When you have returned to work in a new job, not your previous position, and you are experiencing reduced earnings
- When you have been unable to return to work because you cannot find suitable employment based on your current physical and psychological capabilities and restrictions
If you are unsure of whether this type of workers’ compensation benefit is available to you, contact Victor Kademenos or Adrienne Hines at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA at (419) 625-7770 right away.
When You Are Eligible for Wage Loss Compensation
According to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), you are eligible to receive workers’ comp wage loss benefits if you:
- Are an injured worker
- Were injured on or after Aug. 22, 1986
- Have returned to work other than in your former position or you have been unable to find consistent employment
- Have experienced a reduction in how much you earn
- Have experienced reduced earnings as a result of the physical or psychological restrictions due to the job-related injury or medical condition
Based on these elements, it is important that you look for suitable work with your employer before you ask for wage loss compensation. If you can show that this would be pointless since you were already laid off from this place of employment, then you can move on to looking for work elsewhere. However, you will have to prove the futility of this venture to the BWC, so it is generally safer to reach out to your previous employer during your job search. Overall, you will have to prove you looked for other suitable employment based on your current capabilities. The BWC will consider whether you made a good faith attempt to work again before approving wage loss compensation.
Other eligibility requirements for wage loss compensation include registering with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and submitting a medical report regarding your current physical or psychological restrictions. Eligibility for this workers’ compensation benefit can be tricky so be sure to contact an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation attorney at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA at (419) 625-7770 to learn more about your rights and the application process.
Calculating Wage Loss Compensation in Ohio
If you are approved to receive wage loss compensation, then the BWC will calculate the amount based on your average weekly wage at the time of your injury or the date of your disability and your present income. If you are seeking non-working wage loss compensation, the average weekly wage will be calculated based on what you were previously making. If you are seeking wage loss compensation while working, you will have to submit proof of your current earnings and then you can receive two-thirds of the difference in pay between what you earn now and what you earned at the time of your injury.
The BWC or your self-insured employer will calculate your average weekly wage but you should work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can double check their offering. The BWC or your employer will take your total earnings for the 12 months prior to your injury and then divide it by 52 (the number of weeks in one year). All of your earnings, even those from a second job should be included. However, weeks, when you were unable to work due to the injury, should not be included. If your injury led to your being unable to work for 8 weeks, these would be deducted from the calculation and your annual income would be divided by 44.
If your average weekly wages comes back too low, you will have to file paperwork asking for a recalculation. Call us at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA at (419) 625-7770 to have someone calculate the proper amount and appeal on your behalf.