If you get hurt on the job or develop an occupational injury, you may find yourself in a situation where you can’t keep working. Depending on the severity of the injury, you could be out of work for a week, month or even many years. You and your family members will have to adjust to an unexpected and significant drop in household income.
One of the most important protections that North Carolina workers’ compensation offers injured or sickened workers involves the right to disability payments when a worker can’t stay on the job. There are several different kinds of disability available, including temporary disability immediately after your diagnosis or injury, permanent disability if you will not recover and cannot return to work, and permanent partial disability if you have an injury that forces you to change jobs.
Most employees will require at least temporary disability benefits during their recovery. Understanding how North Carolina calculates those benefits and when you can receive them can help you better budget after you find yourself unable to work.
You can potentially receive two-thirds of your average weekly income
Disability insurance will not replace your entire income. At most, you can expect to receive 66.67% of your average weekly wage over the last year. However, those who command high wages may not receive the full two-thirds of their weekly average page.
The state does cap the maximum benefits payable to injured workers, although they adjust the maximum payment occasionally for inflation and cost of living increases. The current maximum weekly benefit is $1,066.
When can you start collecting disability benefits?
In most cases, workers’ compensation disability benefits will not cover the first seven days that you missed from work unless you end up missing more than 21 days. When you receive your first check for disability, it will likely only have the benefit for days 8 through 14. After your 21st day of not being able to work, you can then receive the income for the first seven days.
Collecting benefits requires that you make a report to your employer and file the necessary paperwork with the workers’ compensation program. The sooner you initiate this process, the sooner you can potentially receive the benefits you need.