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What types of workers' compensation benefits are provided?

Employers in Texas offer four types of workers' compensation benefits when an employee is injured in an on-the-job accident or develops a work-related illness. Many factors may influence the type of benefits and the amount one receives.

When one can no longer work because of a job-related illness or injury, income benefits help one recover a portion of lost wages. These benefits may be temporary, lifetime, supplemental or impairment. The weekly income benefits one receives have minimums and maximums based on the state average weekly wage, which is 88 percent of the average covered employment weekly wage. The minimum benefit amount is 15 percent of the SAWW, and the maximum amount cannot exceed the SAWW.

One may also get medical benefits to treat ailments or injury received on the job. An employee's injuries may be rated by the percentage of physical damage that is permanent, and the maximum medical improvement may also be recorded. The MMI is either when one has improved as much as possible or 104 weeks after an employee starts receiving temporary income benefits.

The other two types of benefits apply when a worker is killed in an on-the-job accident. The family of the employee may be given death benefits to replace part of the family's income that was lost, and burial benefits could aid the person paying for the worker's funeral expenses.

Employers are required to provide insurance coverage for workers in case of an injury or illness, but this does not mean employees are automatically given benefits. Filling out a workers' compensation claim and receiving benefits can be challenging, and there are sometimes disputes about the amount or type of benefits one is entitled to. None of this information should be taken as direct legal advice, and a worker may wish to consult an attorney after suffering a workplace illness or injury.

Source: Texas Department of Insurance, "Workers' Compensation Income and Medical Benefits", October 29, 2014

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