How Do Wage Loss Benefits Work in a PA Workers’ Compensation Claim?

How Do Wage Loss Benefits Work in a PA Workers' Compensation Claim? Workers’ compensation wage loss benefits play a pivotal role in safeguarding the well-being of employees and ensuring financial security during times of injury or illness. How are wage loss benefits calculated?

There are a number of formulas used to calculate an injured worker’s wage rate. Generally speaking, the injured worker’s earnings for the 4 quarters before an injury are averaged to come up with a gross figure, and then the carrier is responsible for paying 2/3 of that amount on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. It is important to have an attorney review the carrier’s calculation to ensure that correct and highest possible rate is paid. These payments are tax free.

Do I still receive wage loss benefits if I work remotely?

Yes, remote and hybrid workers in Pennsylvania are covered under workers’ compensation policies if they are injured while completing a work task during work hours. This is true regardless of where the injury occurs. Home-based workers have the same workers’ compensation benefits as in-office employees:”[Coverage] shall include all other injuries sustained while the employee is actually engaged in the furtherance of the business or affairs of the employer, whether upon the employer’s premises or elsewhere, and shall include all injuries caused by the condition of the premises or by the operation of the employer’s business or affairs thereon, sustained by the employee…”Workers’ Compensation Act, Section 301. (c)(1)(f)

These rights were solidified in Verizon Pennsylvania, Inc. v. WCAB (Alston), 900 A.2d 440 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006), a case where a home-based worker slipped on her stairs while she was engaged in a work call on her phone. Verizon paid her initial benefits claim, but refused to pay for the scarring and disfigurement that she sustained as a result of needing multiple surgeries on her neck. The court ultimately sided with the worker.

What if I have two jobs?

In Pennsylvania, when you have two jobs and you are injured at one of them, your workers’ compensation benefits should consider both jobs’ wages. If you can’t work at either job because of the injury, your benefits should be based on the total money you normally earn from both jobs, not just the one where you got hurt.

If you are injured and cannot perform your duties at one job, but can adequately perform your duties at your other job, then you should only receive wage loss benefits enough to cover only the wages you would earn at the one job.

What if one of those jobs relies on tips?

In Pennsylvania, tipped workers  – servers, bartenders, salon workers, and so forth – can still make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. For most servers, however, who rely on tips, this can present a challenge. You may be asked to provide your taxes from the year before to determine what your salary would be, which would then determine what your weekly wage loss benefits are. If your employer tracks your tips at the end of each shift, then that record could potentially be used to see your average weekly salary.

Tipped workers are going to face challenges that other employees may not; the best thing you can do is work with a York, PA workers’ compensation lawyer from the start.

What is the maximum and minimum amount I can receive?

In Pennsylvania, the actual compensation you get depends on your earnings history prior to the injury but the highest wage loss benefits you can receive in 2023 are capped at $1,273 per week. This maximum amount is determined by the Department of Labor and Industry, using the average weekly wage across the state. However, it’s important to note that only injured workers who were earning more than the statewide average of $1,909.50 per week will get the full $1,273.

The minimum amount you receive from your wage loss benefit is determined by the Department of Labor and Industry as well, and is based on your weekly income.

An employee can fall into one of three different payment blocks for 2023

  • If your weekly income is between $954 and $1909.50, then you will get 66 2/3 of your income with the maximum being the previously stated $1,273.
  • If your weekly income is between $954.75 and $707.22, you will receive a minimum payment of $636.50 per week.
  • If your weekly income is $707.21 or lower, then you will receive 90% of your income as payment per week.

These payment schedules vary per year, so make sure to talk to a workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that you receive all the benefits you are entitled to.

KBG Injury Law is your trusted partner when you encounter challenges with your workers’ compensation wage loss benefits. Our York, PA work injury lawyers are experienced in navigating the complex landscape of workers’ compensation laws, ensuring that you receive the full and fair compensation you deserve. Whether you’re facing disputes, delays, or denials in your benefits, our seasoned attorneys will advocate tirelessly on your behalf.

We understand the critical importance of these benefits for your financial stability during times of injury or illness, and we are committed to fighting for your rights. You can be rest assured that your case will be handled with the utmost professionalism, compassion, and dedication to securing the compensation you need to recover and move forward. To schedule a free consultation, contact us to learn more about your rights. Our team has locations in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Gettysburg, Hanover, and York, and we are ready and available to answer your questions and concerns about workers’ compensation and wage loss benefits.