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Workers’ Compensation: Benefits

If you are the victim of a job injury or work-related illness, your ability to earn a living and provide for yourself and your family may be seriously impaired. Workers’ compensation benefits serve as a safety net, providing money for your medical bills and replacing some of your lost wages while you recover. Workers’ compensation benefits are also available if you’re unable to return to work, or if your injuries leave you with a permanent but partial disability. If you or a loved one dies from an on-the-job injury or illness, benefits are paid to the surviving spouse or dependents.

To make sure you get the full range of benefits to which you’re entitled, it’s crucial that you contact the New York lawyers of Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. at (516) 342-2200 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. Our New York lawyers have extensive experience with workers’ compensation cases — we will fight for you and make the best possible case for the benefits that you deserve.

Almost all employers in New York must provide workers’ compensation coverage for their workers. Workers who are covered by those benefits include: employees in all for-profit businesses; state and county workers; domestic workers such as live-in maids who work 40 or more hours a week for the same employer; and farm workers who are paid $1,200 or more by their employer for farm work in a calendar year.

Generally, all for-profit unions in New York must provide workers’ compensation coverage. A nonprofit union that pays salaries or living expenses to anyone, including officers and stewards, must carry a New York workers’ compensation policy. A nonprofit union that does not pay salaries or stipends is exempt from the workers’ compensation insurance requirement.

New York City public sector employees such as teachers, police officers and firefighters are covered by a separate compensation system and should consult their union representatives for advice on workers’ compensation.

If you are employed by the federal government, or if you work in interstate commerce or transport (seafarers, dock and railway workers, postal employees), you are covered by federal workers’ compensation laws.

If you have a compensable injury or illness in any of the jobs covered by New York’s compensation system, you may be eligible for a range of benefits, including:

Cash Benefits. An employee who is totally or partially disabled and unable to work for more than seven days is entitled to cash benefits under New York’s workers’ compensation system. The amount that an injured worker gets will depend on his or her average weekly wage in the year before the injury or illness. This benefit does not cover all of the worker’s salary. At most, the employee can expect to get two-thirds of the average weekly wage. To calculate benefits, the Workers’ Compensation Board uses this formula: 2/3 of the average weekly wage multiplied by the percent of the worker’s disability. Under that formula, a worker who was averaging $600 a week in pay and is now 50 percent disabled would receive $200 per week in cash benefits. As of July 1, 2009, the maximum weekly benefit for an injured worker is $600.

Medical Benefits. Injured employees or those suffering from an occupational disease are entitled to medical care directly related to the injury or illness, as well as medical expenses related to rehabilitation. The health care provider that the employee chooses for treatment must be approved by the Workers’ Compensation Board, although that rule does not apply in emergencies. Medical services are paid for by the employer or its insurance carrier if there is no dispute about the injury or illness claim. The employee may also be entitled to an automobile mileage allowance for trips made to and from the doctor’s office.

Death Benefits. When a worker dies because of a compensable on-the-job injury or illness, his surviving spouse or minor children, as well as other statutorily defined dependents, can collect weekly cash benefits. The amount they’ll get is equal to two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage in the year prior to his or her accident, subject to a weekly maximum. Funeral expenses of up to $5,000 are available in most New York counties. Funeral expenses of up to $6,000 are paid in metropolitan New York counties.

Supplemental Benefits. Supplemental benefits can be collected by two groups of claimants whose income is believed to be most affected by rising costs: workers who were permanently and totally disabled by an on-the-job illness or injury prior to Jan. 1, 1979; and widows or widowers who receive the death benefits of a spouse who died prior to that date. The combination of all compensation benefits — weekly benefits, death benefits and supplemental benefits — is capped at $215 per week.

Social Security Benefits. Employees who become disabled for 12 months or more may be entitled to monthly Social Security benefits. More information about Federal Disability Insurance Benefits is available through the Social Security Administration.

When you’re fighting for your workers’ compensation benefits, you need the New York lawyers of Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. at your side. Call us at (516) 342-2200 or fill out our online contact form for immediate attention to your case. We will fight for you!