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What are discretionary workers' compensation benefits?

An injured Connecticut worker will likely have a number of pressing concerns after an on-the-job accident, especially if he or she is unable to work. Many of these concerns may be financial. Fortunately, workers who are injured on the job may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. These benefits include payment for medical expenses, lost wages and other monetary benefits.

The specific benefits a worker receives will depend on the nature of his or her injury; the length of time he or she is unable to work; and the type of work, if any, to which he or she is able to return. There are a number of listed benefits for which an injured worker may qualify.

A worker may also qualify for discretionary benefits. These benefits, commonly known as "308a" benefits, are awarded after the Commissioner reviews an employee's request and corresponding evidence. An employee may present a variety of reasons to support his or her request for discretionary wage differential benefits. For example, a worker who is looking for a job, or who has obtained a job but is undergoing retraining and has living expenses during the retraining period, may request wage differential expenses. An employee who has found work in a lower-paying job because he or she can no longer work in their former trade due to injury or illness may also be able to obtain 308a benefits.

The discretionary benefits, if awarded, will be 75% of an employee's loss of earnings, after taxes. There are specific limits on how long a person may receive these benefits.

Given the discretionary nature of these benefits, it is important to present a strong case to the Commissioner as to why a worker needs the benefits. An attorney may be able to help with this process and guide a worker so that he or she obtains the full level of benefits necessary to help support his or her family.

Source: State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, "What monetary benefits are available?," accessed Aug. 28, 2015

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