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I Am Working Light Duty But Am Being Paid Less, What Can I Do?

As a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation lawyer with Grimes Teich Anderson, I represent injured workers from our offices in Greenville, Spartanburg, and Gaffney, South Carolina.

In an earlier blog post, I wrote about the benefits an injured worker should receive if he or she is held out of work by their doctor or their employer cannot accommodate their work restrictions. These benefits, for when a worker is unable to work but is still treating, are known as Temporary Total Disability benefits or TTD, for short. If you are out of work and want to know what benefits you should be receiving, review my earlier posts or give me a call to discuss your case.

Sometimes, however, I have clients that are under work restrictions from their doctor and their employer does offer them work. If the worker is receiving the same income as before their injury they would not be entitled to any pay from their employer’s insurance company. Where entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits can occur is when a worker is being afforded work under their restrictions but they are not being paid as much or receiving as many hours as they were before they were injured.

Here is an example:

Worker is paid $25.00 per hour working at a plant in Greer, South Carolina. She works 40 hours per week and never works overtime. She is injured on the job and the company doctor puts her on light duty. She notifies her employer who offers her a light duty position but she will only receive $10.00 per hour and will only receive 20 hours per week. What is she entitled to?

In this scenario, Workers’ pre-injury Average Weekly Wage is $1000.00 per week. Worker’s Compensation Rate (66% of her average weekly wage) is $666.66. If she had been held out of work completely or if her employer did not have work for her, she should be receiving this amount each week until she returns to work. In my example above, her employer has offered her work under her restrictions but she is only receiving $200.00 per week from her employer. The worker in my example should be entitled to Temporary Partial Disability Benefits or TPD.

Under South Carolina Workers’ Compensation laws, you are entitled to be paid 66% (or 2/3) of the difference between your pre-injury average weekly wage and your post-injury wages. Typically, this difference in pay is compensated by the insurance company. Back to our scenario, the worker should be receiving $200.00 per week in pay from her employer plus she should be receiving $533.33 in Temporary Partial Disability benefits from Workers’ Comp. Her TPD is 66% of the difference between what she was making before she was hurt and what she is receiving now.

It is important to remember that even while receiving TTD or TPD, a worker is still receiving less than he or she was making before they were hurt; this is why receiving all the benefits a worker deserves is so important. Sometimes receiving the TTD or TPD benefits a worker deserves, can keep a roof over a family’s head. These issues are confusing, complicated, and often require a look into a workers’ wage records to determine what they are entitled to. Don’t settle for what the insurance company says you are entitled to; protect yourself and your family.

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