Why is my New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Paid in Weekly Increments Rather Than a Lump Sum? Is There Any Way to Receive it Now?
Every year, more and more people will be injured on the job and be in desperate need of workers’ compensation benefits that they deserve. In 2001 alone, there were 5.2 million occupational injuries and illnesses among U.S. workers. (1)
If you are injured on the job, you may have received help from an attorney and gotten a settlement to your case. But what if your worker’s compensation payments are paid in weekly increments rather than a lump sum and you need that money now? Is there any way to change this or make light of an already-distressing situation?
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development Division of Workers’ Compensation works for the State of New Jersey works for their citizens to make sure that all procedures are followed and met so that they can receive their compensation by the agreement made (Code 34.15-7) and that a proper schedule of payments is made (Code 34:15-12). But what does this consist of? (2)
Under Code 34:15-12, the question of, “What do I do for pay while I am unable to work?” gets put to use. As long as requirements are met in your workers’ compensation claim under the New Jersey workers’ compensation law, your employer or the employer’s insurance company involved will be obligated to pay you what you deserve in compensation needs.
This covers the amount of 70% of your gross weekly wage with a statutory maximum provided per year. You must qualify to be out of work a total of one week’s time before you are even entitled to receive temporary disability benefits and, to be paid while you are unable to work, you must have proof with a doctor’s note or prescription that you are unable to work for a particular period of time. (3)
Permanent partial and permanent total disability benefits are paid weekly – but why is this? In New Jersey, these benefits are considered to be wage replacement benefits to step in for your wages and when you would normally receive them. In most cases, the entire award given to the client has not accrued at the time of the settlement hearing, so the injured worker will just receive the payments weekly until said award is paid in full. However, sometimes a petition known as a “commutation” will be issued and granted.
This petition involves all or some of the award being paid in a lump sum and, if approved, the benefits are subject to a 5% discount. This request, however, is quite rare to be granted unless it is a very special case and, in most situations, will go under the radar of the court’s eye. (4)
This is why it is extremely beneficial to speak to an attorney about your workers’ compensation needs. They know and understand your rights and will fight for the benefits that you deserve in the amount of time that you wish.