If you get hurt at work so badly that you can’t keep doing your job, you need something to cover your bills until you recover. The workers’ compensation program in California helps replace the wages lost by workers who get hurt on the job or who develop an occupational illness because of job responsibilities for chemical exposure at work.
Adjusting to life after an injury often means making some changes to your budget, especially during the early stages of your recovery. Although workers’ compensation will theoretically replace your lost wages, they will not pay you the full amount you would have earned if you stayed on the job.
What amount can you potentially receive if you need disability benefits through workers’ compensation?
California limits disability benefits to less than your weekly wages
Some people carry supplemental disability insurance on their own or through their employer to make sure that their budget won’t change at all if they get hurt on the job. If you have no supplemental coverage and can only receive temporary total disability benefits, you won’t receive the same amount you would at work.
The state will only reimburse you for up to two-thirds of your average weekly wages. Provided that you are totally unable to return to work, you can seek up to the maximum benefit to replace your wages. Unfortunately, the more that you earn, the less likely you are to receive a full two-thirds of your average income.
California also set a specific cap for weekly benefit amounts
No matter how much you earn or how severely you get injured, you cannot receive more than the current maximum benefit available for temporary total disability. The Division of Workers’ Compensation increased the maximum weekly benefit amount for temporary total disability for 2021 to $1,356.31.
Although the state does routinely adjust this amount to reflect the average weekly wage across the state, those who make more than the average wage may find that what they receive is lower than two-thirds of their typical income.
Navigating workers’ compensation while also trying to heal from an injury can be difficult to achieve. Getting support with paperwork and appeals will make it easier for you to focus on your health instead of just on your finances.