People in Massachusetts who are injured in on-the-job accidents or develop work-related illnesses that leave them unable to work and earn paychecks for six days or longer are usually entitled to total incapacity benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation program. Injured or sick workers receive benefits that are equal to 60% of their weekly wage as long as that figure is not higher than the average wage in Massachusetts, and the program continues to pay benefits for up to three years.
Partial incapacity benefits
The Massachusetts workers’ comp program also provides sick or injured individuals who are still able to work but not able to earn as much as they did when they were healthy with partial incapacity benefits. This happens when people are unable to work as many hours as they did before, or they accepted a position with a lower wage. The maximum partial incapacity benefit is 75% of the total incapacity benefit, which is 60% of the injured or sick worker’s previous wage or the average wage in Massachusetts. These benefits are paid for up to five years.
Permanent incapacity benefits
People who sustain on-the-job injuries or develop work-related illnesses that leave them permanently unable to perform any kind of work are entitled to permanent total incapacity benefits. Totally incapacitated workers receive an amount equal to 66% of their weekly wage as long as that figure is lower than the average wage in Massachusetts. The amount they receive is adjusted each year to reflect changes in the cost of living. Benefits are also available to help injured or sick workers pay for medical bills or vocational training and compensate them for workplace injuries that leave them permanently scarred.
The workers’ compensation process
While workers’ comp benefits can be a much-needed lifeline in times of great difficulty, the process that injured or sick workers must go through to obtain them can be extremely frustrating. If you were hurt in an accident at work or became sick after being exposed to a toxic substance in the workplace, an experienced personal injury attorney could help you complete your workers’ compensation paperwork and submit it with all the documents needed to ensure rapid processing. A lawyer could also be your advocate if your employer challenges your workers’ compensation claim.