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NJ's Financial Lifeline for Injured Workers:
Temporary Disability Benefits Explained

Temporary Disability Benefits act as a financial lifeline for workers in New Jersey who, due to a work-related injury, find themselves temporarily unable to perform their job duties. Essentially, these benefits are designed to replace a portion of the wages an injured worker loses while recovering and placed out of work by an authorized physician.  It recognizes the financial strain that can arise when an injury prevents someone from earning their usual wages.

 

It’s essential to note that these benefits take time. There’s an initial waiting period, usually spanning seven days. If the worker’s disability extends beyond these seven consecutive days, they’re compensated retroactively from the day the disability commenced.

Treating Physician's note to insurance carrier place an NJ injured worker temporarily out of work.

In New Jersey, the amount provided through Temporary Disability Benefits typically equates to 70% of the injured worker’s average weekly wage, but there are established minimum and maximum limits each year. Importantly, these benefits continue until the worker can return to their job as determined by an authorized physician.

 

Another pivotal point is the concept of Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). If a worker’s treating physician determines that they have reached MMI, it signifies that the worker has recovered as much as medically possible. This juncture often marks the termination of temporary disability benefits since it indicates that the condition has stabilized, even if the worker isn’t fully healed.

 

Consider Carla, a Newark schoolteacher who suffered a slip and fractured her ankle. She couldn’t work for eight weeks. After the initial seven-day period, she began receiving her Temporary Disability Benefits. However, by the seventh week, her doctor determined she reached MMI. Even though she took an additional week before returning to work, her temporary benefits ceased at the end of week seven due to reaching MMI.

 

Applying the TTD benefit is independent of other non-salaried roles the injured employee may hold within the same employer.   For example, a gymnastics school owner also served as an instructor for the students.  The owner received a salary for the instructor position.   The resumption of responsibilities of a non-salaried owner only terminated TTD payments if the owner remained unable to perform the duties of an instructor.

 

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