Most Connecticut workers know that they can recover benefits from the state’s workers’ compensation system for a work related injury. The scope and amount of those benefits are not always as well known, especially if the worker is rendered totally or partially disabled by the injury. Many serious work-place injuries cause the worker to lose all or a portion of the capacity to work in the future. How does the state workers’ compensationsystem treat such injuries and the resulting disability?

State workers’ compensation benefits for disabilities fall into four categories: temporary partial disability, temporary total disability, and permanent partial disability. (Permanent total disability is covered by federal Social Security Disability Insurance.) The classification depends upon the opinion of the worker’s treating physician. The claimant must submit a physician’s written opinion to support any type of disability benefits. Anyone who is disabled by a work-related injury or illness may begin to collect temporary disability payments beginning on the fourth day after the disability begins. The payments are generally equal to 75% of the worker’s pre-accident compensation after deduction of taxes and social security payments. If a worker is able to perform some work after the accident, the benefit is equal to the difference between the pre- and post-accident compensation times the foregoing formula.

The worker must be able to demonstrate continuing eligibility for disability payments by submitting a physician’s report. If the attending physician determines that the employee has reached the point of maximum medical improvement and still suffers from a partial disability, the worker is classified as being permanently partially disabled. The worker is also assigned a percentage of disability based upon the physician’s opinion. Disability payments for permanent partial disability depends on a variety of factors, including the body part that was injured and the worker’s compensation at the time of the injury.

Disability benefits can be crucial to the ability of an injured worker to maintain his or her financial situation. Anyone who believes that he or she is eligible for disability benefits or an increase in the existing level of benefits may wish to consult an attorney who handles workers’ compensation cases for a review of the case and an opinion on the likelihood of securing an award of disability benefits.

Source: State of Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission, “Information Packet,” accessed on Dec. 24, 2017