You’re injured on the job. You go through filing a workers’ comp claim and soon receive a notice that your claim has gotten accepted. You may believe the hard part gets finished, but the reality is different!
Depending on your state, you might have to wait weeks, months, or even years for your workers’ comp payment. You might have to rely on state assistance programs or dip into your savings to make ends meet during that time.
What can cause a delay in your workers’ compensation payment?
Workers’ compensation benefits include medical care and income replacement for employees injured or ill due to their work. The California Industrial Welfare Commission is in charge of workers’ compensation.
The IWC sets the rules for how California workers’ compensation gets paid. Under these rules, workers’ compensation benefits are generally paid in two installments: initial and final payments. The initial cost is made when the worker first files a claim, and the final price is created when the claim is closed.
Injured workers are regularly required to wait long periods for their compensation payments. For example, a recent study found that injured workers in California get forced to wait 24 weeks for their first payment. This delay can create significant financial hardships for injured workers and their families.
These delays often occur because the workers’ compensation system is overwhelmed with claims. As a result, injured workers get forced to navigate a complex and bureaucratic approach to receive the benefits they are owed. This process can be incredibly frustrating and challenging.
A few things can cause your workers’ compensation payment to get delayed.
- Your employer’s contest to the claim can cause one of the most prevalent reasons for delay; if they believe that your injury is not work-related, they may deny the claim.
- Another reason your payment could get delayed is if you do not submit all of the required paperwork on time. It includes filling out the application form, sending in medical records, and notifying your employer of your injury. If you do not submit all the required paperwork, your claim may be delayed or denied.
What can you do to support yourself while waiting for Workers’ Compensation?
In some cases, workers’ compensation can be a lengthy process. However, if you cannot work due to an injury or illness related to your job, you can do a few things to support yourself financially.
- First, you should apply for unemployment benefits.
Unemployment benefits will provide you with a small income while you cannot work.
Unemployment benefits are payments made to workers who have lost their jobs. The federal government runs the program and provides temporary financial assistance to eligible workers looking for new employment.
Only those who have lost their jobs due to no fault are eligible for unemployment benefits. They must also show that they are also actively seeking employment. Their earnings and other criteria determine the number of benefits a worker is eligible for.
Most states offer unemployment benefits to eligible workers who are temporarily out of work, available to be claimed for 26 weeks. In addition, in some states, workers who are waiting for their workers’ compensation claims to be processed may also be able to claim unemployment benefits.
Eligibility for unemployment benefits typically depends on a worker’s earnings and job status. Generally, workers must have earned a minimum wage in the past 12 to 18 months and must be able to work and available for work.
- Contact your state’s workers’ compensation board to find out about other benefits you may be eligible for
If you’re waiting for your workers’ compensation payment, you may be entitled to other benefits. The best way to find out is to contact your state’s workers’ compensation board. Boards vary from state to state, but they can tell you about the programs and services.
Some of the benefits you may be able to access are medical care, temporary income replacement, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits. Board representatives can also help connect you with resources in your community to help you get through this difficult time.
- You can also contact your Workers’ compensation attorney for other possible benefits.
Remember that you are not alone in this process. It’s your attorney’s job to assist you and clear your doubts. In addition, workers’ compensation may not be the only source of employee benefits. For example, employees may obtain benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) / State Disability Programs. Further, workers can get help through private disability insurance policies.
If you are injured or become ill while working, it is essential to contact an experienced Workers’ compensation to get an expert opinion on your situation. Our experienced lawyers at Gaylord and Nantais are always there to help you. Call us at (562) 561-2669 / (213) 732-3436 / (805) 800-8799 to book your free initial consultation.