Massachusetts Workers Comp FAQ

How long do I have to work at my job in order to be covered by Massachusetts workers’ compensation?

The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act covers all employees hired in Massachusetts from the moment that he or she is hired. There is no waiting period for coverage, but there is a waiting period for payment of weekly compensation. All persons injured in Massachusetts while in the course of their employment are covered by the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act regardless of where they were hired.

How much work must I miss in order receive workers’ compensation checks?

Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation provides that a person injured on the job must miss 5 calendar days before becoming entitled to workers’ compensation benefits which are payable as of the 6th day, and not before. If a person is out of work due to an industrial accident for more than 21 days, then the insurer is required to pay for the first 5 days. If an injured work misses more than 5, but less than 21 days, then payment is made only for the days missed after the fifth day.

How long can I get weekly benefits?

A worker who is temporarily totally disabled can receive up to 60% of his or her average weekly wage for a period of up to 3 years. If an injured worker is partially disabled by an industrial accident, then she or he can receive 60% of the difference between their pre-injury wage and that which they are capable of earning after the injury. These benefits are payable for up to five years. The sum of the temporary total and partial disability is limited to seven years; for example, 3 years of total and 4 years of partial, 2 years of total and 5 years of partial. There is an exception to this general rule, which may extend benefits to up to 10 years of partial under certain circumstances. Additionally, an injured worker can receive weekly benefits for life if that worker is not able to work in any capacity for the rest of his or her life.

Is there a maximum weekly benefit?

Yes. The maximum weekly compensation rate is set on October 1 each year. It is currently $ 1,000.43 for accidents occurring after that date.

Is there a minimum?

Yes. The minimum weekly compensation rate is set on October 1 each year. It is currently $ 200.09, or a worker’s full average weekly wage if that wage is less than $ 200.09 for accidents occurring after that date.

How are benefits calculated?

The insurance company obtains a wage record from an injured employee’s employer. An average weekly wage is then calculated by dividing the total gross wages, including overtime and bonus, by the number of weeks worked by the employee.

An injured worker who is unable to work in any capacity is entitled to 60% of this average wage up to a maximum defined by the Department of Industrial Accidents.

If an injured worker is partially disabled, subtract the earnings that worker can be expected to make from the average weekly wage and multiply the difference by 60% to get the partial disability rate. This rate, however, cannot exceed 75% of the total disability rate.

What is the difference between total disability and partial disability?

The crucial distinction between total and partial disability is based upon a number of different factors including the injured worker’s age, education, work experience, fluency in both written and spoken English, and physical impairments caused by the industrial accident. While doctors may characterize one as totally disabled, Administrative Judges apply these factors in assessing the impact of an injury upon a workers’ earnings capacity. The analysis is not limited to merely whether one can perform his or her usual job, but rather whether a person can perform work other than “that of a trifling nature.” If it is determined that an injured employee can work in a job other than the one in which he or she was working when injured then that worker may not qualify for total disability. This is an area of the law where subtle differences have a huge impact on the amount of benefits payable as a result of an industrial accident.

Are workers’ compensation benefits taxable?

Workers’ compensation payments are not taxable under either state or federal income tax law.

Can my children obtain payments while I am disabled?

Dependency benefits are only payable if the injured worker’s weekly compensation drops below $ 150.00 per week in which case an additional $ 6.00 per week per dependent is added to the workers’ compensation rate until it reaches $ 150.00.

Is there a deductible for medical payments?

No. Medical providers, including pharmacies, treating injured workers under the Workers’ Compensation Act are required to accept rates published by the Department as full payment for the treatment provided, and cannot charge an injured worker any amount in excess of those amounts.

Can I choose my own doctor?

Yes. However, an employer can require you to see a preferred provider for the initial visit only if the employer so desires. After that visit, you can treat with whomever you choose. There is one important limitation to bear in mind. You can switch doctors only once within a medical specialty. If you desire to change more than once, you must receive permission from either your employer or the insurer.

Do I need to get permission to see a doctor?

No. You can schedule an appointment with whomever you choose whenever you choose. Insurers are required to provide payment for all medical care which is reasonable and necessary to treat a work related injury.

Speak with a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

To speak with a highly experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, click here, or telephone Parker Scheer LLP seven days a week, toll free at 886-414-0400. There is no fee charged to discuss your case, and all information furnished will be kept strictly confidential.

Related Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Articles

Massachusetts Premier Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Other Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Resources

Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act

Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents

Injured Worker’s Guide (Publication of Mass. Department of Labor)

The Workers’ Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau