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Frequently Asked Questions
In Michigan, wage loss benefits are calculated by taking the average of the highest 39 weeks of the last 52 weeks of your gross wages prior to injury.
This is your Average Weekly Wage (AWW). Generally you should receive 80% of the after-tax value of your AWW. Your first check is due and payable on the 14th day of the disability. After receiving your first check, you should be paid your benefit on a weekly basis.
A wage loss check is not considered late until 30 days after the due date.
Workers’ compensation benefits are not subject to either state or federal income tax.
Sometimes, however, when benefits have been delayed for a long period of time and an employer or insurance company pays a worker interest in addition to the workers’ compensation benefits, those payments of interest may be subject to both state and federal income tax.
Yes, you should always remember that your main goal is to return to work.
If you are able to do some type of work after your injury, even if it is different than your regular job, you are required look for available work. The law demands that you make a “good faith effort” at obtaining a job.
As you know, finding a job in this economy is very difficult. Under the workers’ compensation statute, the insurance company may have to assist you with your search.
You may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation services. A vocational rehabilitation program and counselor will determine the type of jobs that you are able to perform, prepare you for the job, and help you line up employment.
The term IME stands for Independent Medical Examination, but we all know that these doctors are not independent at all.
They are hired by the insurance company and your employer to provide a report that will give the insurer a basis for denying or terminating your benefits.
The doctor will usually report that either you have recovered from your injury and can return to work or that your condition is not related to your job.
The IME doctor may make recommendations about your restrictions or your ability to return to work.
You are not required to follow those recommendations and can follow your own doctor’s restrictions. However, this may result in the suspension of your benefits.
You are entitled to a copy of your IME report. It is a good idea to show it to your own doctor.
Many times, your doctor will write a letter to the insurance company disputing the IME doctor’s opinions.
If the insurance company agrees with your doctor, then your benefits and restrictions should continue. If the insurance company does not agree, you can either follow the IME recommendations or file a workers compensation claim if your benefits are terminated.
It is best to report your injury as soon as it happens. This will be strong evidence that you were injured at work.
If possible, make a report to document how the injury occurred.
Once an injury occurs, however, you should report the incident to the company within 90 days, but the sooner the better.
Most companies require that injuries be reported to usually to a supervisor or the human resources department. Again, follow your company’s reporting procedure.
If you have a repetitive-type injury, like carpal tunnel syndrome, the date of your injury would be the date of diagnosis of the condition because it occurred over many years.
The work does not have to be the only cause to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
However, your work must cause, contribute to, or aggravate a medical condition which results in disability.
If you do something at work that causes you to become disabled, you are entitled to benefits. This is true even if you have a pre-existing injury, like a bad back, that makes you more vulnerable to getting hurt on the job. The employer cannot avoid paying benefits just because you had a condition that made you more susceptible to an injury.
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