An earlier version of this post was published on February 4, 2015.
When you’re injured at work in Vermont, the law entitles you to a number of different workers’ compensation benefits depending on your injury and how well you recover from it. Your Vermont workers’ comp benefits may include “indemnity” benefits like temporary and permanent disability benefits, as well as medical and vocational rehabilitation benefits. I’ll discuss temporary indemnity benefits in this post. Please read my next post to learn about permanent disability benefits.
Temporary Disability Benefits. If you experience a Vermont work injury and are forced to miss time from work, you’re most likely entitled to temporary disability benefits. Temporary disability benefits are intended to replace the wages you lose while recovering from a Vermont work injury. There are two types of temporary disability benefits: temporary total disability (“TTD”) benefits and temporary partial disability (“TPD”) benefits.
If your doctor concludes you are unable to work while recovering from your Vermont work injury, you’re entitled to TTD benefits. TTD benefits are generally calculated using 2/3rds of the average gross wages you received in the 26 weeks before your injury. You’re typically entitled to these TTD benefits until a doctor says you’ve reached “maximum medical improvement” or until you return to work, whichever occurs first.
If your doctor says you can work part-time or in some limited capacity, and your employer can accommodate those restrictions, you may be entitled to TPD benefits instead of TTD benefits. TPD benefits are more confusing to calculate, because you’re paid 2/3rds of the difference between the average gross wages before your work injury and you gross wages while working with resrictions. TPD supplements whatever smaller paycheck you’re still receiving from your employer.
As you can see, these calculations can be complicated and the insurance company may not actually be paying you the right amount. I frequently represent workers who didn’t know the insurance company was underpaying them until I checked the insurance company’s calculations. One client was being underpaid by $100 per week! The insurance company will also try to stop paying you as soon as they can, and they do that by filing a “Form 27” with the Vermont Department of Labor. It helps to have a lawyer representing you before that happens, so your lawyer can fight the insurance company’s efforts and keep your weekly checks coming in. If you’ve been receiving TTD benefits for a long time, call Dickson Law Office for advice on whether you need an attorney.