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How long can disability benefits last in California?

Many workers fear what will happen to their finances after an injury. Medical expenses can be overwhelming, and it can seem impossible to pay off those bills.

To prevent this, California requires companies to provide their injured workers with workers' compensation disability benefits. The amount and length of payments depend on whether the disability is permanent or temporary.

Temporary disability benefits

Generally, with temporary disability benefits, you receive two-thirds of your pre-tax gross wages with the rates determined by the law at the time. Currently, California's minimum temporary total disability rate is $182.29 and the maximum is $1,215.27 per week. These amounts change every year.

Employees are eligible to receive 104 weeks of payments within a five-year period that starts on the injury date. It can increase up to 240 weeks for more severe long-term injuries and you can also apply for state disability insurance to continue payment once your 104 weeks are up. Your claims administrator must pay your first check within 90 days.

Permanent disability benefits

The claims administrator determines your permanent disability payments by your disability rating, injury date and wages prior to the injury. The California average weekly wage will increase to $1,242.78 in 2019 for those with 100 percent permanent disability ratings. The payment for permanent disabilities begins immediately after temporary disability payment ends and your doctor determines that the injury has a permanent effect on your body.

Once the amount is set, you can receive a compromise and release, which is a settlement that comes to you all at once, or a stipulation that results in payments over time. If you and the claims administrator cannot agree to the first two settlements, you could receive the judge's findings and award, which is the amount of money you get along with how much the claims administrator must pay for your future medical treatment.

To get the workers' comp benefits you deserve, contact an experienced workers' compensation lawyer.

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