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How long is the waiting period for workers' comp benefits?

Despite the efforts of safety authorities to protect workers nationwide, including in Pennsylvania, occupational hazards will always exist. Do you work for a company whose management focuses on profits with total disregard for employee safety? Your concern over your ability to care for your family if you should suffer serious workplace injuries can become a distraction, which could jeopardize your safety at work.

Knowing that the workers' compensation benefits system provides financial help after workplace injuries may be comforting, but you might have more peace of mind from knowing the types of benefits that the programs offer and how soon after an injury you will receive benefits. Workers' compensation benefits must not be confused with Social Security Disability Insurance payments that only start five months after an injury occurred.

Types of benefits

Benefits fall into different categories based on the kind and severity of them. Immediate payment applies to medical care you receive after an on-the-job injury, and disability payments usually start within a week. The following are the different type of benefits for which you may be eligible:

  • Medical only -- Workers' compensation benefits cover 100 percent of medical expenses related to on-the-job injuries or illnesses. If you can return to work immediately after receiving medical care, you will qualify for medical-only benefits.
  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD) -- If your injury prevents you from returning to work for some time, you will receive TTD benefits. This type of benefits provides partial wages for the time you have to spend in hospital and to recuperate -- as long as you can then return to your previous job. The benefits will end at the point when you return to work.
  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) -- These benefits come into play when you suffer an injury at work that causes temporary disability such as a fractured leg or arm. If you have a limb in plaster and you cannot do your regular job, but your employer accommodates you by assigning you to a different position for that time, you may have to take a cut in pay during your recovery. TPD benefits will then cover the difference until you can return to your regular duties.
  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD) -- If your workplace injury or illness is completely debilitating, preventing you from ever working again, you will receive PTD benefits.
  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) -- These benefits will apply if you suffer a permanent impairment but you can go back to some type of work after your recovery. PPD benefits may include occupational rehabilitation that will equip you with new skills to accommodate your physical disability and allow you to find gainful employment in a different field.

Knowing how the Pennsylvania workers' compensation program will come to your aid if you should suffer an on-the-job injury may help ease a lot of stress that could accompany such unfortunate circumstances. There are resources available to you to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of benefits to which you are entitled, and you may find further peace of mind from knowing that you have the right seek legal counsel if your benefits claim is wrongfully denied.

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