Under the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured worker is entitled to lost time benefits, called temporary total disability benefits, if the work injury causes the treating doctor to take the employee completely off work. These benefits begin after a waiting period of three working days and are paid so long as the disability exists. If the disability continues for 14 days or more, the employer then becomes responsible for paying for the first three days of disability. During such time, the injured worker is paid 66 2/3% of their wages. However, the weekly benefits are capped at 55% of the State’s Average Weekly wage. This amount can be obtained at the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation website to determine the cap amount relative to your date of accident. Most significantly, since these payments are considered payments of disability, they are nontaxable at both the State and Federal levels.
Similarly, if the treating doctor provides the injured worker with light duty restrictions and the employer is unable to accommodate the light duty restrictions, the employer remains responsible for paying lost time benefits. These payments are made as though the doctor had taken the employee completely off of work. However, if the injured worker is terminated for cause and is provided light duty restrictions, the employer can refuse to pay temporary totally disability benefits.
If you have sustained a work injury and are not receiving timely lost time benefits, you may need legal assistance. Sometimes the delay in payments may be a documentation issue as the adjuster has not been receiving timely off work or light duty slips from the doctor. However, sometimes the adjusters are overwhelmed with claims and simply have not gotten to paying your lost time benefits. In such instances, it often requires legal assistance to convince the adjuster to pay the weekly benefits in a timelier manner.