Minnesota workers comp wage (indemnity or monetary) benefits are governed by the statutes promulgated by the legislature and the rules created by the department of Labor and Industry. These laws change frequently. Your benefits depend on the laws in effect at the time you were injured, or the date of your most recent injury if you were injured on more than one occasion.
The following material is general information on the most current law affecting benefits, which may or may not apply to you depending on your date of injury. Thus, if you have a question about benefits, but aren't sure if current law applies, be sure to give us a call or submit an email question.
I. Temporary Total Benefit II. Temporary Partial Benefit III. Permanent Total Benefit IV. Permanent Partial Benefit V. Subdivision 7 Benefit VI. Death Benefit
TTB helps replace your wages when you're temporarily, but totally off work because:
(a) Your doctor won't let you work; or
(b) Your doctor permits you to work with restrictions, but
(1) Your employer won't let you back if you have restrictions; (2) Your employer has no job that accommodates your restrictions; or (3) Your employer has terminated your employment; and (4) You can't find suitable replacement work, or you can't find work in cooperation with a rehabilitation plan, if such a plan has been established.
The benefit entitles you to 66 2/3 of your weekly wage, (the earnings you were receiving at the time of your injury), subject to a maximum, plus a cost-of-living adjustment.
(1) You return to work, even if only part time on light duty; (2) 90 days have expired since reaching "maximum medical improvement," or MMI; (3) You've received this benefit for 130 weeks, even if the weeks were not continuous; (4) You retire
or otherwise withdraw from the labor market; (5) Your doctor states that you're no longer restricted; (6) You fail to look for work in cooperation with a
rehabilitation plan; or (7) You refuse work that is consistent with a rehabilitation plan, or work
that is within your restrictions.
TPB helps replace your wages when:
(a) You've returned to full or part-time work, even if you have work restrictions, and even if you're working for a different employer; and (b) The work reflects your true earning capacity (it's the best job you've been able to get); but (c) You're current wage is less than your wage before you were injured.
The benefit entitles you to 66 2/3 of the difference between your current wage and your pre-injury wage -- up to a maximum. However, the benefit plus the wage from your employer can't exceed 500% of the statewide average weekly wage (SAWW). This rule greatly limits the benefit for high wage earners.
To learn the statewide average weekly wage
(SAWW) for your date of injury, click here
(1) Your current wage equals or exceeds
your pre-injury wage; (2) You've received the
benefit for 225 weeks; or (3) 450 weeks have
passed since the date of your injury
You're entitled to PTB when it's obvious you'll never work again, or your work, after a diligent job search with the help of a QRC, shows you're limited to sporadic employment resulting in insubstantial income. You'll qualify for this benefit if:
(a) You're totally and permanently blind in both eyes;
(b) You've suffered complete and permanent paralysis of both arms starting at the shoulder, or both legs starting at the hip, such that no artificial arm or leg can be used;
(c) You've suffered a total and permanent loss of mental faculties; or
(d) You suffered any other injury, and . . .
(1) You have at least a 17% Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) rating; (2) You have at least a 15% PPD rating and you're 50 years or older at the time of the injury; or (3) You have at least a 13% PPD rating and you're 55 years or older at the time of your injury and you haven't completed grade 12 or obtained a GED certificate.
You're entitled to 66 2/3 of your daily wage at the time of your injury, subject to a maximum, and a minimum of 65% of the statewide average weekly wage in effect at the time of your injury.
(1) You've miraculously healed from your permanent injury such that you're earning, or you're capable of earning, more than sporadic, insignificant income; or (2) You reach 67years old --
or the age you're considered retired; or (3) The benefit may be reduced, or offset, if you qualify to receive a State or Social
Security pension. However, the reduction can not occur until
workers' comp has paid at least $25,000.00 in PTB.
A PPB is not meant to replace your wages, nor is it meant to compensate you for your pain and suffering, but it exists to compensate you for an injured body part that, despite your doctors' best efforts, will never work properly again.
Your primary doctor or specialist will provide you with a permanent disability rating if you fail to fully recover from your injury.The rating will be issued after you've reached "maximum medical improvement" (MMI). In the event an independent medical examiner (IME) disagrees with your doctor's rating, the rating will be decided by a workers' compensation judge -- if you're willing to fight for your rights.
Your disability rating can be found in Minn. Rules Part 5223, but you'll need medical training in order to decipher it. If you've been compensated by a prior disability rating, the old rating will be deducted from your current rating. If you have more than one permanent injury, your injury ratings will be added using the formula:
1.00 - [(1.00 - Injury Rating 1) x (1.00 - Injury Rating 2) x (1.00 - Injury Rating 3), etc.]
To arrive at a dollar figure, your total disability rating is multiplied by the compen- sation schedule found in Minn. Statutes Section 176.05. The money can be sent to you in a lump sum or installments. However, you cannot receive this benefit if you are still receiving a temporary total benefit (TTB).
The legislature intended that you receive workers' comp benefits without a fight!
If you had to retain a lawyer to secure a benefit, and your lawyer succeed in securing that benefit, then you're entitled to 30% of the amount paid to your attorney in excess of $250.00.
For example, if your attorney received $2,100.00 for work done in securing your benefit, you're entitled to .3 x (2100 - 250) = $555.00 from the comp insurer.
Thus, this benefit helps offset the money you're paying your attorney out of your benefit.
The deceased employee's personal representative can submit funeral bills to worker' comp. The comp insurer will pay burial expenses up to $15,000.00.
Whether or not the deceased employee left behind any dependents entitled to compensation, the comp insurer is obligated to pay a minimum of $60,000.00 to the employee's estate.
If the deceased employee left behind one or more dependents entitled to compensation, then workers comp will apply the following rules:
I. Potential Beneficiaries Entitled to Gross Compensation are Listed Below and Are Compensated in the Order Named
Multiple beneficiaries can receive a benefit at the same time; however, the aggregate payment from the comp insurer cannot exceed 66 2/3 of the deceased employee's weekly wage.
Any benefit payable to a beneficiary continues indefinitely unless limited by statute, or the death / marriage of that beneficiary, except that a spouse can remarry without losing his or her benefit.
II. Potential Beneficiaries Entitled to Gross Compensation Must Prove, (Unless Conclusively Presumed), That They Were Wholly or Partially Supported by the Deceased Employee
"Wholly supported" beneficiaries receive a gross amount that is a percentage of the deceased employee's weekly wage at the time of their death. The percentage is controlled by the legislature. "Partially supported" beneficiaries receive a gross amount according to the percentage the decedent's support bore to the beneficiaries' total income. The percentages shown below are for wholly supported dependents; other amounts would apply for partially supported dependents.
(a) Spouse, No Dependent Children:
A spouse is conclusively presumed "wholly supported" unless they voluntarily lived apart from the deceased employee at the time of their death, in which case they'll have to show that the separation was not meant to be permanent. A spouse who doesn't qualify for the conclusive presumption must prove his or her wholly or partially supported status.
(1) Legal spouse -- a 1/2 couple holding a
legal certificate of marriage;
(2) Putative spouse -- a 1/2 couple who held a "good faith belief," up to the time of the employee's death, that the marriage was legal, but in
fact, it was not -- usually from some glitch in the certification process;
(3) Common law
spouse -- a 1/2 couple who held themselves out as married, but who never applied for certification -- but only if the marriage was accepted by the laws of another state or territory where the couple formerly lived, as Minnesota doesn't recognize a common law marriage formed within the state.
A wholly supported spouse will receive 50% of the deceased employee's weekly
wage at the time of his or her injury, payable for ten years.
(b) Spouse with Dependent Children, and Orphans
A child under 18 years of age at the time of the employee's death, or under age 25 and regularly attending school full time, is conclusively presumed wholly supported.
A physically or mentally challenged child over the age of 18, who is incapacitated from earning a living independently, may have to prove their wholly supported status -- but only if the comp insurer first makes a plausible argument against them.
Other children of the deceased employee will need to prove their wholly or partially supported status.
A child of the decedent employee includes:
(1) A biological child; (2) A posthumous child; (3) A legally adopted child; (4) A child adjudged in a paternity suit to be the child of the deceased employee; (5) A stepchild, grandchild, or foster child of the deceased employee, who is a member of the family, and who is supported by the deceased employee;
Assuming the parent and child(ren) are wholly supported:
A surviving spouse with 2 (or more) dependent children will receive 66 2/3 of the daily wage at the time of the employee's injury until there are no dependent children. At that time, the benefit will drop 25% from the last weekly benefit payment, payable to the spouse for ten years.
A surviving spouse with 1 dependent child will receive 60% of the daily wage at the time of the employee's injury until the child is no longer a dependent. At that time, the benefit will drop 16 2/3 % of the last weekly benefit payment, payable to the spouse for ten years.
Note that if the spouse is not responsible for the support of the child(ren), a workers' comp judge will determine the proportion paid to the spouse and the proportion paid to the guardian or conservator of the child(ren).
Where there are no surviving parents, 2 (or more) dependent orphans will receive, via a guardian or conservator, 66 2/3 of the weekly wage at the time of the employee's injury. If there is only 1 orphan, the child will receive 55% of the weekly wage at the time of the employee's injury.
(c) No Surviving Spouse or Dependent Children, Only Parents and Remote Dependents
Surviving parents and remote dependents must prove their wholly or partially supported status.
If the deceased employee left no surviving spouse or children, but left surviving parents who were both wholly dependent on the employee for support, the parents will jointly receive 45% of the employee's weekly wage at the time of the injury. If only one parent is wholly dependent, then they are entitled to 35%. However, these amounts cannot exceed the actual payments made by the employee to his or her parents.
If the deceased employee left no surviving spouse, children or parents entitled to any payment, but left one wholly dependent grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, mother-in-law, or father-in-law, then they will receive 30% of the weekly wage at the time of the employee's injury. If there is more than one wholly supported remote dependent, than they will receive 35% to share and share alike.
III. Gross Compensation is Offset by a Government Survivor Benefit
A combined weekly workers' compensation death benefit and a weekly government survivor benefit cannot exceed 100% of the weekly wage earned by the deceased employee at the time of their death. In fact, no comp benefit will be paid to a beneficiary for any week where a weekly payment by a federal survival program by itself exceeds this amount.
However, there is no offset for a surviving spouse where only dependent children are receiving benefits from a governmental survivor program, and the support of the children is not the responsibility of the surviving spouse.
If you don't understand your wage or monetary benefits,
or you think your benefits are being wrongfully
Call us for competent legal representation on
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