Important: We updated this article in February 2023 so all info below is both current and accurate. Have a workplace injury or illness? Then the last thing you want to do is a math problem to calculate your workers’ comp. That’s because the numbers you need to calculate your weekly payment amount are harder to find than you might expect. First, it’s not always based on your current salary. Second, it has little to do with your employment sector’s average pay scale.
So, how is it actually done? What payment level can you expect if your claim goes through? Read on for some details on how to calculate your weekly benefits.
Three Steps to Calculate Your Workers’ Comp Benefits
Follow the steps below when trying to figure out how much pay your employer owes for a workplace injury. If you believe your employer isn’t paying you all the benefits you deserve, sign up for a free phone call with a local workers’ comp attorney. You’ll get free legal advice about your case without ever leaving your house.
Step 1: Find Your Average Weekly Wage
The first number you’ll need is your average weekly wage (AWW). However, this amount varies based on which state you live in. Your employer’s insurer uses this number to calculate your maximum possible workers’ compensation benefit payment. Employers report these AWWs to help insurance companies set workers’ comp payments for your specific location and industry.
In Pennsylvania, for example, this number is based on the Statewide Average Weekly Wage, as determined by the Department of Labor & Industry for each fiscal year. The maximum compensation payable in this state, therefore, under the Workers’ Compensation Act is $1,273/week for injuries. That workers’ comp payment rate applies only to injuries that occur on or after January 1, 2023.
Your employer uses this number to calculate your workers’ comp benefits at the time your doctor confirms the injury/illness. Even if your state’s AWW changes after filing your claim, your payment amount won’t change.
In some states, legally, the maximum benefit rate is 90% of that state’s AWW for the year before your injury. You cannot get paid more than this amount, no matter how high your earnings were before your workplace injury.
Step 2: Determine Your Injury’s Disability Percentage
When filing for workers’ comp, it matters whether your injury leaves you fully or partially disabled. Here’s why: Your payment will be either the full amount calculated based on your industry’s AWW, or it will be half the maximum amount. Ask your doctor the percentage of disability that applies to you. If you can go back to work, but can’t perform the duties or tasks you did before, you’ll earn up to 2/3 the difference. Learn more about how states calculate permanent disability rates for workers’ comp settlements.
Step 3: Do the Math to Calculate Your Benefit Payment Amount
Now that you know your state’s AWW and your own disability percentage, you can figure out your expected benefits payment amount.
- Multiply your state’s AWW by 2/3.
- Take that number and multiple it by the percentage of disability your doctor assigns you.
The resulting number is your weekly workers’ comp benefit payment amount. This number won’t change, even if your state sets a new AWW while you’re on workers’ comp benefits.
There are three disability statuses, and yours determines how to calculate your benefit amount. The first status, “Temporary Total Disability,” is a short-term payment while you recover from your injury or illness. “Temporary Partial Disability” is the status that applies if you can work part-time, but not full-time. Finally, “Permanent Partial Disability” (PPD) status applies when all temporary disability payments must stop, but you still cannot work full-time.
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.