The Maryland Workers’ Compensation program provides four different types of disability benefits to injured or ill employees.
Being involved in a work-related accident is never something that Maryland residents want to happen. But, these things can and do occur and it is important to be aware of what help may be available at such times. It is commonly understood by employees that the state has a workers' compensation program but just what does that mean when it comes time to file a claim? What benefits are actually available?
Two ways to measure disability
As outlined by the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission, there are two ways in which a workplace disability is assessed. One is based upon the duration that the disability is expected to last. A lifelong disability is treated differently than one from which a person is projected to recover from. These are referred to as permanent disabilities or temporary disabilities.
The second method by which the commission determines disability benefits is by the severity of the injury. A common measure used in this is whether or not the person will be able to work again and earn a living in the future. Partial disabilities are those in which some capacity to work and earn a wage is expected. Total disabilities are those that may preclude a person from returning to work.
Benefits determined by state commission
The State of Maryland provides oversight by the Workers' Compensation Commission. The Commissioners, who hear disputes between the injured worker and the Employer/Insurer, are appointed by the Governor. There are special committees that review and determine the fees appropriate for health care providers and for regulations pertaining to rehabilitation providers. Other departments manage the processing and reporting of claims.
Benefit types and amounts
Based upon the criteria outlined above, a person may qualify for permanent partial, permanent total, temporary partial or temporary total benefits.
An award for permanent partial disability benefits will last for a set number of weeks according to a schedule determined by the percentage disability to the body part or body as a whole. The amount paid per week is based on the injured person's average weekly wage at the time of the accident. Unless a person's original earnings were under $50 per week, an injured person will never receive less than that amount.
An award for permanent total benefits would continue for the lifetime of the claimant. The amount would be calculated at 66 percent of the pre-injury weekly wage so long as that does not exceed a stated state monetary ceiling. Temporary total benefits would also amount to 66 percent of a pre-injury wage and are subject to a state maximum.
Temporary partial benefits would be calculated at 1/2 the difference between what an injured person is able to earn on "light duty" and what was earned before the injury. These benefits are to be paid by the employer's workers' compensation insurance company.
Filing a claim
Filing a workers' compensation claim can be a cumbersome process. It is recommended that people reach out to an attorney for help with this. Getting legal input may help to avoid overlooked details and ensure that people properly complete all required paperwork to secure their benefits. Failure to file an originally signed claim within 30 days of an online submission may invalidate the claim.