Employees who are injured on the job would find themselves facing financial difficulties if employers weren’t required to help provide for them after an on-the-job injury. Injured workers may need to file for disability payments to provide for themselves and their families. Though many Colorado employees may be aware of this possibility, they may not know exactly what each option entails.
Temporary total disability is fairly simple to understand, as it means that an employee has been injured and is not able to work at all, but that the condition is not expected to last. Temporary partial disability can occur in many ways, such as when a worker returns to work before his or her condition is fully stable. It also occurs if the injured employee starts earning less than an average weekly wage or has a reduction in wages or hours because his or her job description has changed. Temporary disability in either case will cease if the employee starts working at his or her normal wage again, a doctor says he or she can return to their job, missing multiple medical checkups and for other reasons.
If an employee is fully not able to work or earn a wage, he or she may be eligible for permanent total disability, which pays a portion of the wage they used to earn and continues for life. If the employee’s injury is permanent but not completely debilitating, any disability payments he or she receives will be based on the injury itself. A scheduled impairment refers to a specific loss of use of specific exterior body parts, such as the legs or eyes. Non-scheduled or whole person impairment refers to other body parts not included in the scheduled category that have been injured to the point that they no longer function properly, such as the lungs or cognitive abilities.
Those who have further questions about disability may find the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s website to be a helpful resource for injured workers. Employees should remember that they have the right to use these benefits if they are needed. They can help a family focus on their loved one rather than their finances.
Source: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, “Disability and Benefits”, , Sept. 8, 2014