If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are stressed from working in the face of the pandemic and are not able to continue working, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in California. Continue reading to get the latest information on this issue and to determine whether you may be eligible.
Situations That May Result in Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation
Generally speaking, to be eligible you must be unable to continue your usual job because you were exposed to and contracted COVID-19 during the regular course of your work. Outside of this very specific situation, you may be eligible for other options including unemployment, but you would not be eligible for COVID-19 related workers’ compensation.
Available Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19 Sufferers
If you are found to be eligible for coverage, it will genuinely include temporary disability payments (TD). These will begin the day a doctor says you cannot work as usual for at least three days, or the first day you are hospitalized overnight. You could be eligible to continue receiving TD for as long as 104 weeks. It ends either when you go back to work, when your doctor says you can go back to work, or when your doctor determines you have improved as much as you are going to improve.
What to Expect with Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19 Sufferers
In most cases, temporary disability will pay two-thirds of the gross wages you lose while you are covering. There is a maximum amount set by state law. You may also be entitled to medical care and additional payments in the event your doctor determines that you have suffered a permanent disability due to the illness.
At this point, though the virus has been spreading for months, not much is known about the long-term effects it could have on patients.
The Complications of Determining TD Benefits
First, know that you will not owe federal, state, or local income taxes on temporary disability benefits. You will also not pay into retirement funds, pay Social Security taxes, or union dues on those benefits. Some of the factors that can make it complicated to determine your benefit amount include:
- If you worked a second job at the time you contracted COVID-19
- If your job was seasonal
- If you have wages that rise and fall significantly on a regular basis
- If you earned other income such as bonuses or tips, or had other benefits such as a car allowance, housing allowance, or bonuses
If you were scheduled to have your wage increase shortly after the date of the injury
At The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker we know we are living in uncertain times. As workers look for the best way to stay safe while continuing to earn a living, it can be difficult to know what resources are available. If you have questions about employment law we suggest you speak to an employment law attorney as soon as possible.