This article is from RISQ Consulting’s MyWave Connect portal, a resource available to all RISQ Consulting clients. Please contact your Benefits Consultant or Account Executive for more information or for help setting up your own login.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits Overview
When employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance, such a policy is used to cover expenses that result from employees becoming injured on the job. These policies also cover employees who experience occupational diseases that were caused by work. This coverage includes the following benefits:
- Medical treatments
- Disability benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Death benefits
It is important for employers to understand the different types of benefits that employees can receive under workers’ compensation coverage. By doing so, employers can monitor their workers’ compensation claims and save money, while also providing a better claim experience for their employees.
Medical benefits are the benefits that are paid out by a company’s workers’ compensation insurance policy for an employee’s medical treatment. This coverage pays for the medical treatment necessary to treat the employee’s work-related injury.
Any medical treatment that the employee receives will be covered, so long as it is considered medically necessary or reasonable to treat the work-related injury. Alternative medicine treatments are normally not covered by workers’ compensation coverage.
There are specific statutory requirements and limitations for types of medical treatments covered by workers’ compensation insurance, but these requirements vary by state.
There are several different disability benefits available for employees under workers’ compensation coverage, known as wage replacement benefits. These benefits take the place of the employee’s wages if they are out of work due to a work-related injury or the benefits are a supplement to an employee’s wages while they are unable to return to work in full capacity due to the work-related injury. These benefits include:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD)—These benefits are used when an employee must take off of work completely until they have healed and are able to return to work per a physician’s medical release. Each state’s percentage paid can vary, so it is important to check the state the workers’ compensation claim is filed in. Once the employee is able to return to work, these benefits are discontinued.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)—These benefits apply when an employee is allowed to return to work in a limited capacity per a physician’s order. This can mean the employee might work for fewer hours or in a different type of job role (e.g., transitioning to light-duty tasks). Once the employee is able to return to work at full capacity, these benefits are discontinued.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) – These benefits are used when an employee has a permanent disability, but is still able to continue working in a limited capacity. The percentage rating of an employee’s disability is determined when the employee has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI)—meaning the employee is not going to improve from the injury any further. The physician then determines the severity of the disability and assigns a percentage. An employee will not be able to work in the role they did prior to the injury and will have to switch job roles to accommodate their disability. PPD may also require shorter workdays or other work restrictions.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD)—These benefits apply when an employee reaches MMI and is unable to return to work in any capacity due to becoming permanently disabled by their work-related injury. This decision has to be made by a physician. The employee will be given a disability rating and must qualify for PTD, which varies by state. In most states, these benefits apply to the loss of body parts as well. These benefits will run until there is a settlement reached or the employee is able to collect Medicare. Each state has its own laws concerning workers’ compensation benefits, so employers should seek legal counsel for specific questions.
In any workers’ compensation case, the restrictions of the employee should be determined by the treating physician.
Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
If an employee has been injured and is not able to return to their previous job due to a work-related injury, vocational rehabilitation benefits can help them reenter the job market. These benefits provide services such as:
- Career planning
- Job placement
- Skills training
These benefits are meant to help employees return to work when they would otherwise be unable to do so. The services provided by these benefits vary by state.
Death and Dependency Benefits
These benefits are paid out when an employee is killed from a work-related accident or injury, or experiences an occupational disease that results in death. Depending on the state in which the employee was employed, a surviving spouse or relative may be eligible to receive compensation to make up for the decedent’s wages. The amount of compensation received and how long the benefits last will depend on the state in which the benefits are being paid.
Depending on the state, dependent children can also receive additional benefits. Normally, such children must be under the age of 18 or continue to be dependent on their parents after the age of 18 due to mental or physical impairment or incapacity.
Another expense that workers’ compensation insurance provides through death benefits is funeral expenses. If an employee is killed in a work-related accident or due to an occupational disease, they will have either a portion or all of their funeral expenses paid for. The amount paid varies by state.
The Importance of Understanding Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Employers should understand all aspects of a workers’ compensation claim, as it will allow them to have conversations with their employees regarding workers’ compensation benefits. By understanding the claim process, employers can effectively speak with affected employees concerning any claim-related questions that may arise. If an employer is unable to answer these questions, they should consult their workers’ compensation insurance carrier to figure out the answers.
Another reason that understanding the workers’ compensation claim process is important is that it affects a company’s bottom line. By understanding the different components of a workers’ compensation claim, an employer can review the cost of the claim, understand which benefits are being paid and why, determine how much the insurance carrier set aside for reserves for the employee’s injury and why, and determine whether the case should remain open or be closed out. All of these components can affect an employer’s bottom line.
Overall, understanding the entire workers’ compensation claim process—specifically, which benefits your employees can receive—can allow an employer to leverage their workers’ compensation policy effectively and minimize claim-related expenses.
Contact us today to discuss all of your workers’ compensation needs.
By Andrew Kupperman, RISQ Consulting Employer Services and Workforce Technology Consultant, SHRM-CP
We are now past the 1st year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. Things do seem to be turning in the right direction from the perspective of getting closer to life as we knew it prior to this monumental event that’s impacted all of us. While it certainly won’t exactly be the same, we are getting nearer to that new normal. And remember, according to my blog post back in July, the new normal does require adoption and openness of change to our everyday lives.
In reflecting over the past year, there was certainly a lot of different things to stress over in our personal lives. Initially there was worrying about contracting COVID and not knowing how it might impact you and those in close contact with you. Then there became this air of mystery around not having a great sense of how long we’d be in this state of pandemic, which included our initial expectations continually being extended. On top of all of this, we were also faced with the most contentious election year most of us have experienced.
While these things became a big concern, almost all of us then needed to worry about at least one of the following: the impact to their employment, changes in how they worked, or how to balance work with needing to now be the primary daily childcare provider while schools, camps, and day cares couldn’t fully operate. All these things, combined with the pandemic environment, left many of us often feeling isolated, confused, and overwhelmed.
In our constant state of isolation, many of us often turned to the internet for answers, which in most cases was not a wise option. Others tried to focus on work (if it was still available), while others had more time to spend with immediate family and find solace in that.
Personally, my work life hasn’t been easy over the last year, as I know it hasn’t been for many people. There’s been the need to know about new and constantly changing regulations that’s impacted many of our clients, who have been facing very difficult business decisions of their own. There also hasn’t been a lot of room to focus on more strategic initiatives over the last year, due to these new day to day challenges to meet our clients evolving needs. One thing I can find comfort in, is our clients have shown a great deal of tenacity while being faced with the pandemic, and while some have had to make very hard decisions, their employee’s interests were always given the attention and consideration it deserved prior to finalizing a difficult change.
I’ve also tried to focus on my immediate family as well. I had my first child arrive in my life about 8 months prior to the COVID pandemic starting. It’s been a whirlwind trying to learn his ever-changing needs and how to meet them. The one thing I can say though, is whenever I’ve had any moments of doubt, depression, or anxiety during this pandemic, I could always rely on my son being able to cheer me up with a laugh.
To close my thoughts on my reflection, the issues I was faced with may have been small in comparison to others. My family and I were lucky enough to not have contracted COVID yet (knock on wood). But no matter the level of impact the COVID pandemic might have dealt you, I do hope you can find and reflect on that one thing that might have helped you through all of this. Despite things looking up, we’re not out of this pandemic just yet, so remembering that one thing will be important for any other challenges life decides to throw at us.
By Shayla Teague, RISQ Consulting Individual and Family Benefits Consultant
While speaking with my mom the other day, I mentioned my servant leader at work. Shocked, she said “They call you a servant at your work?” I then realized that it is not a common term and figured I had better explain it.
Servant leadership is not a new concept, but it is becoming more popular. The first mention of the term itself, “servant leadership,” was in a 1970’s essay by Robert K. Greenleaf. He was born in 1904 during the peak of the Industrial Revolution and following the footsteps of his father, served as a community steward.
After a 38 year career with AT&T as the Director of Management Development Greenleaf began his career as a writer, consultant, and teacher. He saw the trend that the organizations that boomed had leaders that acted as support coaches and served the needs of their employees. In Greenleaf’s words, “The organization exists for the person as much as the person exists for the organization.”
There are 10 key principles of servant leadership and they are outlined in the website below. You can even take a self-assessment to discover where you are as a servant leader.
By Aimee Johnson, Account Executive
I’ve travelled to many international locations and dream on exploring more (once able). I do have to admit that I am a little embarrassed on how few places and adventures I have taken in my home state of Alaska.
After 30+ years (that’s all you will get from me in sharing my age) of living in Alaska, COVID has reminded me I have a wonderful playground available to explore!
So Hello, Alaska! Let’s plan a summer staycation!
I decided to narrow my adventure list for the upcoming summer. What have I NOT done and have always wanted to do? I also listed some favorites that may need to be revisited and shared with my almost 2 year old daughter.
This list sure got long quickly, but is really making me excited for a safe summer free of the unknowns and anxiety that last year’s COVID-19 pandemic created.
A few of my top items you may want to add to your summer or anytime adventure list:
- Girls Salmon Fishing Weekend
- Anchorage to Valdez Adventure
- Gulkana River Float Trip
- Anchor Point Halibut Fishing Weekend & Beachcombing
- Between Beaches Getaway
- Denali Private Vehicle Park Road Opportunity
- Caines Head Hiking/Camping Trip
- Gull Rock Hope Hike
My list is just beginning and will have to flow into next summer! I hope you are as excited as I am to take advantage and appreciate what is available in our backyard we get to call home.
Have a wonderful spring and summer!
By Angela Baker, Account Specialist
One of my favorite things to do is to go plant shopping. I always end up bringing a few new beauties home and I need to know how to care for them properly because plants are not cheap. Keeping plants alive is not as hard as you think it is.
There’s no such thing as green thumb or a black thumb, it’s more about how much you pay attention to your plant. We all have the ability to grow healthy indoor plants, it’s just about understanding the basics of plant care and listening to your plants when they tell you or show you what they need.
By Tiffany Stock, Vice President, Marketing & Client Relations
Many years ago, in the throes of a project that I no longer remember, one of my colleagues said something that has stuck with me – work smarter, not harder. I had never heard that phrase before that I could recall, or at least not at a time that it resonated and stuck with me. Fast forward years later, and I would say that phrase pops in to my head a least once a week. With all the tasks in both my personal and professional life, I try to keep that as my mantra and take a step back to make sure that I am being the most effective and efficient as possible – as the old saying goes, time is money, right?!
What this phrase does NOT mean to me is cutting corners to do something faster and/or diluting the outcome just to get something done more quickly. The output should be of equal or greater quality when trying to evaluate if you could be working smarter.
While there is no way to ensure that everything you do is being done in the most efficient way and with the best outcomes, having that as a goal really helps set the stage and create the mindset.
Here are some things that have helped me try to implement this thought process into my everyday:
- Habits: Create habits that are going to help you achieve your goals – if you have not read Atomic Habits by James Clear, I highly recommend it!
- Prioritize: When prioritizing your day, stick to the 80/20 rule – focus on the tasks that will give you the most results and happiness first!
- Timing: Know what time of day you have the most energy – and use that time to focus on your thought-heavy projects.
- Attitude: Have a positive attitude – seriously, this may seem like a simple thing but your attitude has a serious impact on not only your health but also your results and being able to find solutions when you are feeling bogged down.
- Change: Embrace change – just because it has always been done a certain way does not mean there is not a better way to do it that creates the same or an improved outcome.
At the end of the day, I think we all want to be more productive and feel like we have accomplished something. If even one of these suggestions helps refine and improve the way you perform even one of your daily tasks in a smarter, more effective way, then that is a WIN in my book. So ask yourself, “Am I working smarter, not harder?”
By Andrew Kupperman, RISQ Consulting Employer Services and Workforce Technology Consultant, SHRM-CP
Do you ever feel like you spend an entire day doing a million different things at work, but by the end of the day, you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing? Even the best planned out workdays can easily get side tracked by the constant interruption we expose ourselves to on a daily working basis. From email to direct messaging systems to phone calls, there are a ton of things in our day to day work life that can distract you from feeling accomplished at the end of the day.
Professor Gloria Mark with the University of California did a bit of research on the impact of task switching, and the toll of distractions on the average worker in the tech industry. The fascinating thing is this research was done well over 10 years ago, but it still strongly resonates in today’s work world, where the chance of distraction and frequent task switching is much higher than it was back then.
The biggest concern from this older research, is the time it takes to get back on track (23 minutes and 15 seconds) isn’t any less based on newer research I’ve heard about. In addition, the stress these types of distractions can cause is still a very high impact in today’s world. Although we’re still advancing from a technological standpoint at a decent rate since this article was written and research was done, we still haven’t solved for the ultimate toll on our wellbeing.
By Casey Kirkeby, Strategy Consultant
We are in 2021 and now more than ever, it seems like everyone is selling something and trying to create a value proposition. We have all had an idea or thought, “could that actually create value and make a difference in the world?” Just the other day I thought about a product that could wirelessly charge your phone when you entered a room of your house and did not require cables or docks of any sort. Man that sounds like the ultimate consumer product but turns out someone has thought of this and it’s called Wi-Charge. My point is how can you vet your idea, figure out if it is something trending and if there is a market to buy? This website includes resources on live events, testimonials from actual customers and access to over 15,000 members that could be your next investor if they like your idea.
I was doing research and stumbled upon something called Trends and it was created by a company called The Hustle, a daily business and tech newsletter read by over 1 million young professionals each morning. Launched in 2016, The Hustle exists to help entrepreneurs, builders, and dreamers make their mark in the world through business. If you are on the verge of the next big thing and like to do research and collaborate with a community of entrepreneurs, I recommend you check out Trends because what do you have to lose?
The Daily Hustle
By Ashley Snodgrass, Executive Account Manager
I spend a lot of time in my email inbox. Reading, replying, forwarding, sorting, unsubscribing. Repeating. Over, and over, and over again. A weird measure of time I keep is how many messages have sent. If you work in Outlook for Desktop, you can head on over to your Sent folder, and see the number at the bottom of your screen. I’ve sent… a lot of emails. I’m not going to tell you how many, for fear that I’ll be exposed; either because you think I should send way more, or you think I should send way, way less.
The average office worker sends and receives an average 122 emails a day. How many times do we do something 122 times in a single workday? Thinking of any other business operation, if a company asked an employee to do something 122 times, the company would monitor and measure that task extensively to ensure employees were approaching the repetitive task the most efficient way. Yet, why is this not the case with email?
I’ve been inspired by Seth Godin’s recent blog post about “The Weight of Repetitive Tasks”. Seth Godin compares digital tasks to laying bricks – a motion that we repeat numerous times. Yet, as the bricklayers in Seth Godin’s post demonstrate, if you take the time to get your workflow right, you can “avoid paying a penalty for poor digital hygiene every single day.” What are the things in your workday that are repetitive, but that you have not taken the time to address? Once you identify the bricks you’re moving, you can better solve for the most effective way to build the brick wall.