If you are receiving Wisconsin worker’s compensation benefits, you may want to verify you are getting the correct amount. By learning how Wisconsin worker’s compensation benefit calculations work, you can calculate your benefit on your own and compare it to your-weekly checks.
1. Understand Worker’s Compensation Terms
Under Wisconsin’s Worker’s Compensation statute, an employer’s worker’s compensation insurance carrier is obligated to pay the injured employee two-thirds of his or her “average weekly wage” (AWW) for each week or partial week of absence due to the work injury. This two-thirds benefit is known as the weekly temporary total disability (TTD) benefit. Not infrequently, however, the worker’s compensation insurance carrier underpays the TTD benefit, either because the employer provided incomplete or otherwise erroneous wage information or because of mistaken assumptions by the insurance carrier about the wages the employee was earning at the time of injury.
2. Calculate Two Wage Numbers and Use the Greater Result
To be sure you receive all of the TTD owed to you, be aware you are entitled to TTD based on two-thirds of the greater of the following two calculations:
1) Your average weekly earnings over the 52 weeks before your injury;
2) Your hourly pay rate on the date of injury multiplied by 40.
For example, if you were injured on June 1, 2013 while earning $15.00/hour, and had earned $35,000 between May 31, 2012 and June 1, 2013 (the date of injury), your TTD benefit would be the greater of the following two figures:
1) $35,000/52 = $673.08 (AWW) x 2/3 = $448.72 (weekly TTD benefit); OR
2) $15.00/hour x 40 = $600.00 (AWW) x 2/3 = $400.00 (weekly TTD benefit).
In this example, the first calculation produces the higher TTD benefit rate. This is often the case when, for example, an employee works overtime hours during the year.
3. Full Time vs. Part Time Work Usually Does Not Affect Your TTD Check
It is also important to note that even though you are a part-time employee, the TTD benefit is usually calculated as though you were a full-time employee. So even if you averaged less (sometimes much less) than 40 hours per week during the year prior to your injury, the AWW (and, thus, the TTD rate) are calculated based on a 40 hour workweek.
If You Find a Discrepancy, Consider Discussing with an Attorney
If you believe your workers comp insurance carrier may have miscalculated your TTD benefit rate, do not hesitate to contact an experienced worker’s compensation attorney at one of Hawks Quindel’s offices. Our worker’s compensation attorneys practice in all of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and have helped thousands of employees secure the benefits they are legally entitled to.
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