What are your wage benefits under Arizona’s workers’ compensation laws?
The workplace can sometimes be hazardous for your health. Thankfully, there are local and state government laws and regulations in place to keep you from experiencing harm in the workplace.
In addition to federal workplace guidelines posted in your breakroom, Arizona’s workers’ compensation laws have requirements to benefit those who have been injured on the job or when performing the scope of one’s employment duties.
When this occasion arises, it’s vital that you understand how to file a workers’ compensation claim — starting with attending to any medical emergencies immediately and notifying your employer.
Who provides lost wage benefits in Arizona?
The Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) is the overseer of the Arizona workers’ compensation program. Under this program, workers have the right to receive cash benefits to pay the average monthly cost of living, and workers can receive ongoing medical treatment.
Every Arizona employer who has 1 or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. All funds from employers go to an insurance company pool. For employers who are unable to pay monthly premiums as required by law, the ICA funds benefit and maintain coverage for affected employees.
Which workplace injuries are covered?
A majority of workers in Arizona are covered by workers’ compensation laws. It doesn’t matter if you were injured on or off the workplace premises or it wasn’t exactly your fault, the ICA will still administer your benefits.
However, not all claims are not valid.
Here are some examples of work injury claims that may not be covered by the law, in conjunction with the ICA:
- Horseplay and roughhousing
- Drug abuse
- Alcohol abuse
- Injured during the lunch hour
- Injured while commuting to/from work
An administrative judge will consider the following injuries as a valid workers’ compensation claim:
- One time accident or injury
- Carpal tunnel
- Occupational illness or disease
- Repeated back injuries
- Psychiatric episodes at work
- Chemical exposure
- Injuries of the extremities
How much can I get for wage loss benefits?
If the physician maintains that your injury is expected to last more than a week, then you will be entitled to wage loss benefits. These benefits will replace two-thirds of your monthly average benefits — up to a certain maximum. This number is based on the last 30 days of wages or salary earned at your current place of employment before your stated injury, and changes from year to year.
The table below features a list of the most up-to-date current schedule for the Arizona maximum average monthly wage. This maximum rate changes every year, adjusting for inflation and living expenses.
|Maximum monthly wage||Date of injury|
|Beginning of period||End of period|
|$4,888.56||January 1, 2020||December 31, 2020|
|$4,741.57||January 1, 2019||December 31, 2019|
|$4,625.92||January 1, 2018||December 31, 2018|
|$4,521.92||January 1, 2017||December 31, 2017|
|$4,428.91||January 1, 2016||December 31, 2016|
|$4,337.82||January 1, 2015||December 31, 2015|
The maximum monthly wage for wage loss benefits in Arizona for 2020 is $4,888.56 for injuries sustained between January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020.
After your physician states that you can return to work, you will receive a Notice of Claim Status. However, if you can only perform light duties at work, you will continue to receive the wage loss benefits.
Keep in mind, your workers’ compensation claim will be modified from your new wages minus your regular average claim amount. For example, if your claim was $2,000 and you are now earning $1,000, then you will continue to receive benefits for $1,000.
What about permanent disability benefits?
If your condition will not improve with time, and the physician maintains that you have a permanent disability, benefits will pay out according to the permanent disability scale for your work history, age, education level and earning capacity.
A certified physician will assign your injury to a permanent disability degree according to the previously listed criteria. You may receive additional compensation depending upon the degree of your disability in monthly installments or as a lump sum payment.
For example, a worker could lose sight in both eyes and loss of limbs. The worker could receive lump-sum payments.
Questions and answers about compensation for a job-related accident, injury or illness in Arizona
What is the workers’ compensation appeals process like?
In the instance that you receive an unfavorable response, you can appeal your claim. You have a limited time to present your case for a hearing. Initial requests for a hearing must be done in writing to the Arizona Industrial Commission within a 90-day timeframe.
An administrative judge will hear your case. Your employer and the insurance company also can dispute your claim by presenting compelling evidence. If the judge denies your claim at the hearing, then the final step in the appeal process is to present your request to the Arizona Court of Appeals.