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How long will temporary disability benefits last after an injury?

When you get hurt on the job, one of the first concerns is often how much work you will miss during your convalescence. Ideally, your employer can work with you and help you continue working, potentially in a different position or with altered job responsibilities that won't impact your injury.

However, many people find that they cannot return to work immediately after an injury. Instead, they need time to recover before they can continue doing their job. Rest is critical for the healing of serious injuries, which is one reason why temporary disability benefits exist.

If you have an injury that will likely improve in the future, workers' compensation temporary disability benefits can help you cover your living expenses until you return to work. Knowing what you can expect from those benefits can help you better plan for your medical needs and financial solvency while you are unable to work.

Temporary disability will pay up to two-thirds of your weekly income

The amount you receive from California workers' compensation when you receive temporary disability benefits will depend on your average weekly wage. The program pays two-thirds of your weekly income, up to a maximum benefit amount. All of your income, including wages, lodging or expense reimbursement, commissions, tips and standard overtime wages can factor into the amount you receive.

The state pays workers' compensation temporary disability benefits every two weeks for as long as the worker qualifies to remain in the program. While the amount of the benefit is less than what a worker usually makes, it is better than a total loss of income. Workers whose income is substantially more than that amount may need to carry additional, private disability insurance to close the gap between what workers' compensation offers and what they typically make.

How long can you claim temporary disability?

The whole idea behind temporary disability is to prevent workers from experiencing financial hardship after a workplace illness or injury and giving them space to get the treatment they need to continue working. By letting workers take the necessary time to heal, temporary disability benefits help ensure that injured workers can continue to provide for themselves.

You can qualify for temporary disability as soon as your first night in the hospital or when you've missed three days of work. The benefits will last as long as your injury continues to keep you from working. If you decide to return to work or your doctor says you are able to go back on the job, you will no longer receive temporary disability benefits. Additionally, if a doctor indicates that your injury has improved as much as it will, it may be time to consider permanent disability benefits.

At some point, however, the injury may no longer be a temporary issue. Some workers who receive temporary disability will later need to file a claim for permanent disability benefits instead.

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