If you become ill or are injured on your job, your illness or injury may be covered by your employer's workers’ compensation insurance. One of the benefits you will receive is an indemnity payment for your lost wages for the time you are out of work. Unfortunately, you will not start receiving these benefits immediately because the law dictates a waiting period.
Learn about the waiting period and the retroactive period so that you can better understand the benefits you are entitled to receive.
What Is a Waiting Period?
When you initially file a claim for workers' compensation benefits, the doctor may state that they anticipate you being out of work for a period of time. Although workers' compensation will pay you 66 2/3% of your income during the period you are out of work, there is a waiting period to receive these benefits.
Waiting periods vary from state to state. In South Carolina, you must be out of work for at least seven days before you are eligible for workers' compensation for your lost wages.
If you are out of work for less than seven days, then you will not receive your lost wages from workers' comp. You will be eligible to receive this benefit beginning on your eighth day.
During a waiting period, most employers will allow you to take your sick or vacation time. You may have to go without pay if you do not have any paid time off on the books. The type of time you are allowed to use varies from employer to employer.
Waiting periods are designed to keep workers with minor injuries from filing claims. Having to use seven days of an employee's own time often outweighs any benefits that a minor claim will produce. It also reduces the cost of the claim by reducing the amount of paperwork that an adjuster has to do for claims that are short in duration.
What Is a Retroactive Period?
Your waiting days are not lost. You need to view them as an investment you are making, as you may ultimately get compensation for these days.
In South Carolina, if you are out of work for more than 14 days, including your 7 waiting period days, you are then entitled to be paid for the initial seven days you waited. This is referred to as your retroactive period.
Here are a couple of examples:
- Example #1: You are able to return to work after 12 days. In this case, you would receive an indemnity payment for 5 days of pay, but you would not be eligible to receive any compensation for the 7 days of the waiting period.
- Example #2: You are able to return to work after 21 days. In this case, you would receive an indemnity payment for the 14 days that exceeded your waiting period in addition to a payment for the 7 days of your waiting period.
- Example #3: If you are out of work indefinitely, your indemnity payment begins on the eighth day and you are eligible to be paid for your first 7 days once you have been out of work for 14 days.
Workers' compensation benefits can be confusing even for the most knowledgeable person. Incorrect interpretations by your workers' compensation administrators can affect the outcome of your claim.
If you are in the midst of a workers' compensation case and you feel you are being treated unfairly, you need to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side. Dean Law Firm LLC is here to help you. We will be glad to review your case and assist you in receiving the compensation you deserve. Give us a call today.