What Are the Four Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits in the United States?

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In all the states in the U.S. workers’ compensation benefits are there to compensate employees who got injured, got sick, disabled or even died while carrying out their job responsibility.

The four key types of workers’ compensation benefits available in the United States are medical coverage, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation and death benefits.

The amount of benefits provided and the manner in which these workers’ compensation benefits are delivered varies from state to state. But the kinds of benefits injured workers receive are the same across all states.

Here are the different types of workers’ compensation insurance benefits.

1. Medical Coverage

When an employee is injured in the course carrying out their job responsibility, they can file for workers’ compensation claims and in turn receive medical coverage within the time being.

This medical coverage pays the cost of treating employees for an occupational illness or injury. It includes fees charged for doctor visits, nursing care, medications, hospital treatment, medical diagnostic tests, physical therapy and medical equipment.

In many states, providers are reimbursed for medical services based on a fee schedule. The schedule lists the most a provider will receive for each type of treatment.


2. Disability Benefits

How do workers’ compensation benefits work when an employee becomes disabled? The role of disability benefits is to replace a portion of the wages an employee loses while he or she is disabled due to a work-related injury.

The amount workers receive for disabilities varies widely from state to state. If two workers sustain similar injuries but reside in different states, one may receive considerably more in disability payments than the other.

Disability benefits in workers compensation

The amount a worker receives in state benefits depends on the nature of the disability. Benefits are usually calculated based on average weekly wage (the worker’s average weekly pay before the injury occurred). The calculated amount may be subject to minimum and maximum thresholds. No benefits are provided unless the disability extends beyond a specified waiting period (often seven days).

Each disability is classified into one of four categories:

  • Temporary Total

In temporary total disability, the worker is completely disabled by the injury and is unable to work for a short period of time. For example, a worker injures her back and is unable to perform any work for six weeks. She returns to full duties after a six-week disability.

  • Temporary Partial

In temporary partial disability, the worker is only partly disabled by a short-term injury. For example, an employee breaks his arm on the job and subsequently works part-time while his arm heals.

  • Permanent Total

The worker has sustained a permanent injury that cannot be cured. As a result, the worker cannot earn future income by performing the type of work he was doing when the injury occurred.

  • Permanent Partial

The worker has sustained a permanent injury, such as hearing loss, that prevents him from earning as much income as he earned prior to his injury.


3. Rehabilitation

Most states provide some type of vocational rehabilitation to workers who are unable to return to their previous job due to an on-the-job injury. Some also provide psychological rehabilitation if a worker has suffered a work-related mental injury.

According to the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), vocational rehabilitation may include job training, career counseling, and assistance in finding new employment. Why Addiction Rehab is Covered by Most Health Insurance Plans.

4. Death Benefits

If an employee dies due to a work-related injury, death benefits are paid to the worker’s spouse, minor children, and other dependents. Burial costs are also covered. Check out why health insurance is expensive in the United States.

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