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How workers’ comp payments are determined in Illinois

| May 12, 2014 | Workers’ Compensation

When an employee receives an injury on the job, he or she is entitled to compensation for the medical expenses and missed wages due to the injury. Under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act, injured workers can receive temporary total disability benefits when they are receiving treatment for an injury received at work and are unable to perform their duties. Determining the amount of workers’ compensation that an employee is entitled to begins with a basic calculation that takes many factors under consideration.

Average Weekly Wage calculation

The first step to calculating workers’ compensation payments is figuring out the Average Weekly Wage (AWW). An employee adds gross wages for the past 52 weeks and divides by 52. Factors affecting the AWW include the following:

  • If an employee gets overtime wages, these can complicate the number. Regularly worked overtime hours may be included, but based on regular pay rather than incentive pay. Occasional overtime may not be included.
  • An employee who worked at more than one job at the time of the injury may include wages from other jobs if the employer at the place of injury knew about them.
  • When the employment of the injured worker was only temporary or limited, the AWW may be based on what an employee working the same position earned in the previous year. A partial year is calculated by dividing the salary by the number of weeks worked.

After calculating the AWW, the temporary total disability benefits are figured by figuring two-thirds of the amount. This amount is still subject to the minimum and maximum benefit limits of the state.

Weekly benefit levels

The Illinois Department of Employment Security sets the minimum and maximum benefit limits based on the statewide average weekly wage. Rates are figured and updated every six months, so it is important to have a workers’ comp attorney who is familiar with the workers’ comp laws and procedures for Illinois so that the right amount can be applied. The current maximum benefits are $1,336.91 per week, so if a person had an average weekly wage of $2,100, he or she would receive $1,336.91 rather than $1,400.

An employee’s benefits should arrive weekly or biweekly based on the pay schedule of the employer. Benefits should begin within 14 days of the notification given to the employer about the injury. Presenting the employer with a physician’s note that includes the work restrictions and a written demand for the benefits may speed the process so that there is not a delay. The first three days of lost work are not included in the benefits until two weeks of work have been missed.

Serious injuries at the workplace should not result in lost wages and financial difficulty. Seeking the help of an attorney who understands the details of the Illinois workers’ compensation laws can keep injured workers from  missing out on any benefits.