By law, most Pennsylvania employers must carry workers’ compensation in the event any employee incurs a work-related illness or injury. Under the insurance claim, workers may be entitled to receive certain payments based on the severity of their workplace injury or illness.

Under workers’ compensation, eligible employees receive payments for a percentage of their earnings they lost due to their job-related injury or illness. These payments apply to employees who are considered totally or partially disabled. Injured employees may be eligible for total disability benefits status if they are unable to work for at least 104 weeks. These benefits will only continue based on a doctor’s findings. Under a partial disability benefits status, injured workers can receive payments for no more than 500 weeks while working at a lower income job and following certain job-related limitations.

Workers’ compensation wage payments are based on about two-thirds of the eligible worker’s average weekly income. In instances where an injured worker is receiving income from other sources such as severance pay or Social Security benefits, the wage loss benefit could be offset by as much as 50 percent of those payments. In addition, workers’ compensation pays for a reasonable amount of medical costs associated with the employee’s injury or illness. Unless an employer otherwise specifies, the employee may choose his or her own doctor.

Specific loss benefits apply to a worker who was severely and permanently scarred or disfigured on his or her neck, face or head, or suffered the loss of his or her sight, hearing, a limb or another body part in a workplace injury. Death benefits cover eligible surviving family members whose loved one died from a work-related accident or illness. There are also benefits for workers who contract an occupational disease on the job such as lung disease.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, “Workers’ Compensation & the Injured Worker”, October 07, 2014