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What if I need 'light duty' work after a work-related injury?

Recovering from injuries at work can be a painstakingly long process, filled with much confusion and fear. The prospect of possible lost wages during rehabilitation from a work-related injury can be daunting.

Even though you may not be cleared by your physician to return to the type of work you were performing before the accident, another option may exist to help you keep financial control during the recovery period. If you are able to be released for "light duty" work, the State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission offers guidelines for obtaining such work.

First, ask your employer for light work and state what you are able to perform. If no such work is available, the Connecticut Job Service can help initiate a job search for available work in your geographical area. Second, inform the workers' compensation insurance carrier of your need to change work status and be sure to send a list of your employment searches on a weekly basis to the insurance adjuster handling your particular case.

You may also want to confirm that the adjuster will be providing a check for partial benefits each week that your job list is sent over. This amount of temporary benefits will be equal to your original weekly rate. If your employer pays you less than what you would earn in regular work, you should receive a wage differential benefit from the insurer. The amount will constitute 75 percent of the difference between what you currently earn and what you would have earned in your original position. This will continue until you can return to work or a physician says your maximum level of medical improvement has been reached.

You may still be eligible to receive your Permanent Partial Disability benefits even after returning to work or receiving unemployment benefits. The Department of Labor Unemployment Office will determine your eligibility.

Recovering from a work injury can be frustrating and stressful, even without the additional fear of financial instability. An experienced workers' compensation attorney may be able to point you in the right direction to receive all of the benefits you deserve while you focus on the healing process.

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