What benefits are a part of workers' compensation? - Part I

The term "workers' compensation" is familiar to most employees in Pennsylvania and, even if workers have never had to apply to receive this benefit in their working life, they are usually generally aware of the protections this system provides to workers. However, here, in Part I of a two-part series, we will take a look at what specific benefits are included under the umbrella-term workers' compensation.

For starters, people that need to apply for workers' compensation are doing so because they will be missing time at work due to an injury. What does time away from work mean for Pennsylvania residents? Lost wages. So, the first benefit most people are looking for from the workers' compensation system is benefits to cover those lost wages. Lost wages benefits are paid when a worker is completely unable to return to work for a set period of time due to a workplace injury.

Next, if a workplace accident is so devastating that a worker is actually killed as a result, benefits may be available to the worker's spouse. These benefits are known as death benefits. Another situation can be a bit more complex to calculate: what if a worker is injured in a workplace accident and permanently loses the use of a certain body part? Like a finger or a toe, or even a whole hand or foot? Or perhaps the worker loses sight or suffers some type of permanent disfigurement? In this type of situation, a set award may be given to the worker. This is known as a specific loss benefit.

In Part II of this two-part series, we will take a look at perhaps the most important part of the workers' compensation system, medical care, and who is responsible for paying for that care.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, "Workers' Compensation & the Injured Worker," accessed Oct. 4, 2015

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