When workers are injured or become ill on the job, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are paid out of an insurance policy held by the employer which protects both employer and employee. The employee is generally entitled to receive compensation for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages in exchange for agreeing not to sue the employer. Lost wages can be financially devastating for a family; the benefits provided bycan be a life saver.
Fortunately, workers’ comp covers most work-related illnesses and injuries. Unfortunately, workers’ comp claims can be lengthy and complicated, and even a minor error can result in delayed or reduced benefits. Two of the most confusing aspects of workers’ comp are the waiting period and retroactive period. The information below will help you understand these two requirements, and how they may impact your claim. Acan help you protect your rights if you’ve been injured in a work-related accident.
The waiting period refers to the number of days the injured worker must miss work before he or she may begin to receive indemnity payments. Although the waiting period may seem unfair to a newly-injured worker, there are two important reasons for its existence. For one, waiting periods are intended to prevent workers with minor injuries from filing frivolous claims. Knowing that she is going to lose wages for at least the duration of the waiting period, an employee with a minor injury will be less likely to file a claim, knowing that the loss would almost certainly outweigh the gain.
In MA, the waiting period is five days. If you are injured and miss five or less days of work, you will receive no benefits. If you are injured and miss more than five days of work, you will receive benefits for the days that exceed the waiting period. In some cases, employers will allow injured workers to use sick or vacation days to cover the days missed during the waiting period.
If the injured worker fulfills the requirements of the retroactive period, he or she will receive benefits for work days they missed during the waiting period. In MA, the retroactive period is 21 days.
Consider Laurie’s case. Laurie injures her back in a work-related accident and is temporarily unable to work. In all, Laurie misses 38 days of work. For the first five days, Laurie receives no pay due to the waiting period requirement. On the sixth day, Laurie begins receiving indemnity payments. On the 21st day, Laurie satisfies the retroactive period requirement, and thus, receives payment for the first five days of missed work.
If, on the other hand, Laurie had returned to work after only 20 days (before the 21-day retroactive period), she would not have received compensation for the first five days of work she missed. A Continue readingcan help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured on the job.