What are TTD benefits? How long do temporary total disability benefits last?
Most employers and businesses in Arizona must purchase workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits to employees who suffer injury or illness in the workplace or while performing their job. A workplace accident may result in injuries that prevent an injured worker from returning to his or her job for a period of time. Such situations often place financial hardships on families who depend on that income to make ends meet.
Under state law, an injured worker who has been unable to return to work for a specific amount of time may be eligible to collect temporary total disability (TTD) benefits.
Workers who are recovering from on-the-job injuries often have questions about TTD benefits, such as:
- What are TTD benefits?
- How long do temporary total disability benefits last?
- Am I able to obtain a medical examination from a doctor of my choice?
While state laws vary regarding workers’ compensation laws and TTD benefits, in Arizona, there are several issues regarding such topics that applicants will want to be aware of when filing their claims.
What are TTD benefits?
In Arizona, if an on-the-job accident results in an injury that prevents the worker from returning to the workplace for 8 or more calendar days, then he or she may be eligible for TTD benefits. These benefits provide a replacement for lost wages in the amount of two-thirds (66.66 percent) of an injured worker’s average monthly income.
If a TTD applicant supports 1 or more dependents in their household, then they may receive an additional $25 per month in TTD benefits.
While a worker must be out of work for at least 8 days before being eligible, after a certain amount of time he or she may also be able to retroactively replace wages that were lost within the first 7 days as well.
There is a maximum amount of wage loss recovery in Arizona, so any worker who files a claim for TTD benefits will need to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney to avoid confusion or complications during the claims process.
What do I need to know about TTD benefits?
Under Arizona law, in order to collect TTD benefits, a worker who has suffered an on-the-job injury must obtain a medical examination from an employer-approved physician at least 1 time. Once that visit has occurred, the worker may be able to change doctors; however, it is imperative that you ask whether there are regulations governing such a change such as paperwork to fill out or if your employer can deny a request to change doctors. If an injured worker does not meet all requirements in filing a workers’ compensation claim or requesting TTD benefits, the claim may be denied.
Many states set a limit as to how long an employee recovering from a workplace injury may continue to collect TTD benefits. In Arizona, however, there is no limit. A worker may continue to receive wage loss replacement checks for as long as their attending physician has not signed a release stating that they are able to return to work. If a doctor has released a patient to return to work, then they would no longer be eligible for TDD benefits.
How to calculate TTD benefits in Arizona
Being unable to work not only may involve physical pain and discomfort due to an injury, but it can also be stressful and worrisome for injured workers and their families.
While there are some resources available online to help injured workers calculate the amount of disability benefits that they might be eligible for, you shouldn’t put too much stock in these online calculators since every situation is unique and should be carefully examined.
It’s worth noting that the maximum rate of compensation you can get through temporary disability benefits is limited by the average monthly wage cap. This maximum cap is set each year. So if the difference between the pay you made before your injury and what you’re currently earning in the temporary situation exceeds the maximum amount, your compensation will be capped.
In Arizona, the maximum average monthly wage is $5,030.33 for injuries sustained on or after January 1, 2021.
Visit the ICA website for a full list of benefit caps each year.
If you want to calculate how much your case is worth, it’s best to consult with an experienced Arizona work injury attorney.
Arizona workers’ compensation laws can be complicated
Temporary total disability and workers’ compensation benefits can help you cover medical expenses associated with injuries you have suffered in the workplace. In Arizona, you may collect these benefits whether you’re a full-time or part-time employee, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.
The first step to initiating a workers’ compensation claim is to notify your employer that you suffered an injury at work. Your employer must then notify their workers’ compensation insurance carrier, as well as the Industrial Commission of Arizona. The insurer then has a certain amount of time in which to investigate your claim.
Your claim might be denied for any number of reasons. If you missed a deadline or your employer claims that your injury did not occur at work, for instance, the carrier may attempt to deny your claim.
Encountering legal obstacles when you’re desperately in need of TTD benefits intensifies the stress of an already difficult situation. However, know that a denial of your initial claim does not necessarily mean that all hope is lost in your case. An experienced workers’ compensation law attorney can provide support throughout the claims process, including filing an appeal if your employer or an insurance carrier wrongly denies your claim.
Hiring experienced legal representation ensures that you have someone on your side who is well-versed in Arizona laws and knows what to do to help overcome any legal obstacles that arise.