Personal Injury Lawyers Representing Charleston & Nearby Areas of South Carolina
Disability Benefit Categories for Workers' Compensation
Part of the agreement implicit in any workers' compensation case is that the injured party will be appropriately compensated for any disability incurred by a work injury. In South Carolina, two major criteria are used to determine compensation: whether your disability is temporary or permanent, and whether it is partial or total. This determination could make a big difference in what you receive.
If you have been injured in the course of your job and are planning on filing a workers' comp claim, the Charleston work injury lawyers at Steinberg Law Firm are here for you! From helping you file your claim to representing you at a hearing, we can help with every step of the process. Call us at 843-720-2800 for a free case review.
Average Weekly Wage in South Carolina
In the state of South Carolina, your benefits are calculated based on your average weekly wage. The state determines your average weekly wage by calculating how much you made, on average, each week over the last four fiscal quarters. Generally, you will be paid 2/3 of your average weekly wage during your time on disability.
South Carolina puts two restrictions on the average weekly wage. First, if your average weekly wage is calculated to be less than $75, you are paid your full wage while on disability. Second, if 2/3 of your average weekly wage is greater than the average weekly wage in the state of South Carolina, your disability will be reduced so you are only paid the state average.
When your injuries preclude you from working entirely, you qualify for total disability. Total disability gives you 2/3 of your average weekly wage for a maximum of 500 weeks. The extent of your injuries can also affect your benefits. According to South Carolina law, you qualify for temporary total disability benefits if your injury results in any of the following:
- Losing the use of both hands
- Losing the use of both arms
- Losing the use of both feet
- Losing the use of both legs
- Losing the use of both hips
- Losing vision in both eyes
- Losing two of any of the above (for example, use of one hand and one foot)
- Losing the use of both shoulders
If your injuries are permanent, you qualify for permanent total benefits, and receive 2/3 of your average weekly wage for the full 500-week period. However, if your injuries have left you with brain damage, or have left you a paraplegic or quadriplegic, there is no time limit--you should receive benefits for the rest of your life.
As with total disability, partial disability benefits are paid out depending on whether the injuries are permanent or temporary. Because permanent partial disabilities usually refer to the loss of some body part, either through nerve damage or amputation, state laws specify a compensation for the permanent loss of each body part. Once again, disability payments are calculated as 2/3 of your average weekly wage.
Some examples of permanent partial disability benefits include:
- 65 weeks of payments for losing a thumb
- 32 weeks for losing a big toe
- 10 weeks for losing any other toe
- 220 weeks for losing an arm
- 195 weeks for losing a leg
- 300 weeks for losing 1-49% of the use of your back
- 140 weeks for losing vision in an eye (or losing the eye)
If your partial disability is temporary, you can qualify for temporary partial disability benefits. These pay you 2/3 of your average weekly wage for a maximum of 340 weeks. Once you recover from your injury, you may wish to go back to work for a full wage, and your temporary disability payments will stop when you start working again.