We always hope for a quick recovery when someone is injured at work. That's true as an employee or employer. But, sometimes, what looked like a minor injury can take years of rehabilitation and physical therapy to fully heal. When this is the case, how long will the benefits from a workers compensation insurance claim continue to pay out?
The Guideline: Three To Seven Years
Limitations on how long a workers compensation claim will continue to pay out will last from three to seven years, depending on state law. Permanent disability payments can last much longer — typically extending to 65 for weekly payments, and 75 for all benefits. After that point, Social Security will take over.
The limitations on workers compensation benefits are there to ensure that an employee has adequate time to recuperate and either return to their job, or pursue a new line of work. The second case applies if an injury leaves them incapable of returning to their previous job, but still able to pursue work elsewhere.
It is a net gain to have a workers compensation program in place. It is better to be able to receive an income following an injury than to be stranded and on your own. However, a workers compensation settlement is far from a lucky break. Many individuals who have collected workers compensation benefits report that the time spent not working can be deeply frustrating and depressing.
In our adult lives, the workplace isn't just where we go to earn a living. It can also be the social center of our lives, a source of self-esteem and an avenue by which to prove our abilities and take pride in what we do.
If you have an employee who is doing their best to recover, but who has suffered a serious, job-threatening injury, you might want to talk to them about permanent disability. This can be a difficult conversation to have, but it’s an important one. At the end of the day, it's not just about protecting your bottom line. It's about protecting your people.