Under current Virginia Workers Compensation law, you cannot get a Temporary Total Disability (“TTD”) weekly check at the same time you are getting a full Permanency weekly check.
A Permanency Award is given when an employee permanently loses the function of a body part or limb. Once the doctor writes that the patient has reached “Maximum Medical Improvement” AND given a Permanent Partial Disability (“PPD”) rating under the American Medical Association Guidelines, an injured worker’s counsel can apply for permanency benefits. Few lawyers are aware that you CAN get a permanency check and a Temporary Partial Disability (“TPD”) wage loss check. In Virginia, if temporary total disability (TTD) is granted,
the injured individual may be qualified to get 66% (2/3) of their regular wages based on their earnings for the 52 weeks prior to the injury.
So, can an unlucky worker get checks from two different cases if they have TWO separate work injuries at different times, while working for the same employer? Can they get a weekly TTD check for complete wage loss, AND the other for a Permanency (PPD)?
Let’s assume this situation for a client we had been representing for a leg injury. She had been back to work for some time, but is now out for a back injury from the same employer. Furthermore, the employer has the same workers comp insurance carrier for both claims. The injured worker is getting weekly total wage loss checks (“TTD”) from the workers comp insurer. She received a Permanent Partial Disability (“PPD”) rating for the knee injury by her authorized treating doctor. The question is, can she receive TTD benefits for the back injury AND also PPD benefits for the knee injury, at the same time?
The answer appears to be that they cannot be paid simultaneously (see 65.2-503(E)(1); only TPD & PPD can be paid concurrently (see 65.2-503(E)(2). The government does not seem to like injured workers getting TWO full workers comp checks at the same time. These checks are usually free of state, local & federal taxation. The hesitation may be that because if an injured worker gets two full tax-free comp checks, and thereby receives MORE money, tax-free, than they were making when they were working, they might have a disincentive to return to work.