Workers’ Comp Waiting Periods and Retroactive Pay in Massachusetts

The waiting period built into workers’ compensation benefits functions as a type of deductible. If you are injured on the job, workers’ comp generally pays for associated medical treatment, a portion of your lost wages, and compensation for permanent disability. If you cannot work, these payments can mean the difference between financial disaster and financial stability.

Many workers’ comp applicants are surprised to discover that benefits rarely start immediately. In most cases, beneficiaries will be subjected to a waiting period. During this time, you will be unable to collect benefit payments, with few exceptions. A MA workers’ comp lawyer can help you determine how to move forward if you’ve suffered a workplace injury.

Waiting Period

Waiting periods are intended to avoid the need to file extensive paperwork for minor injuries, as well as to prevent insurance fraud. In MA, the workers’ comp waiting period is five days. Basically, this means that if you are injured and only miss five days of work, you will receive no benefits because your lost work time did not exceed the required waiting period. If, on the other hand, you miss 12 days of work, you will receive payments for the seven days exceeding the waiting period.

Retroactive Period

The eligible worker will receive retroactive payments for the waiting period during which they received none, but not until they satisfy the retroactive period. In MA, this is 21 days. Therefore, an injured employee will begin receiving benefit payments after the five-day waiting period, and will receive retroactive pay for those five days following the completion of the 21-day retroactive period. If missed work time exceeds the waiting period but not the retroactive period, (for example,15 days off the job), the beneficiary will not receive retroactive pay for the first five days.

Common Workers’ Comp Claims

Workers’ compensation exists to protect both employee and employer. The employee gets a portion of her wages if unable to work. In turn, she gives up the right to sue the employer for damages. If the employee suffers a temporary total disability, the employee will receive up to 60 percent of her average weekly pay. Benefits are usually temporary, lasting three or four years, but lifetime benefits may be available for a worker who will never again be able to work in any occupation for the rest of her life. The most commonly-filed workers’ comp injuries include:

  • Overexertion injuries, including sprains and strains
  • Repetitive stress injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, memory problems, and seizures
  • Spinal cord injuries, leading to severe pain, and partial or total paralysis
  • Fractures
  • Hearing damage
  • Vision damage
  • Getting caught in a machine
  • Amputations
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD
  • Occupational illnesses, including asbestosis, respiratory diseases, and cancer

If you suffered any of the above injuries in a work-related accident, a Boston workers’ comp attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Don’t go through this difficult time alone.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Serving Boston and the Surrounding Areas

If you have been injured on the job, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of MA workers for more than 50 years. Most work-related injuries and illnesses are covered by workers’ comp, but application errors and missing information can result in delayed or reduced benefits. In some cases, eligible workers receive no benefits at all. Further, if negligence played a role in your injuries, you may be entitled to additional compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.


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