Apr 2023

How Long Can You Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits in R.I.?

Safety at work concept. Close-up view of hardhat and injured factory worker in the background.

Understanding workers’ comp benefits in Rhode Island

Rhode Island, like all states, has a workers’ compensation system in place to provide financial assistance to workers who are injured on the job or develop an occupational illness.

Under Rhode Island law, all employers with one or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Once an injured worker’s claim has been accepted, they are eligible for various benefits through workers’ comp.

Workers’ comp medical benefits cover all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to the work injury, including doctor’s visits, hospital bills, prescriptions, and prosthetic devices. Injured workers are also eligible for disability benefits through workers’ comp.

But how long is an injured worker eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits? In Rhode Island, there are many factors to consider. The length of time a worker can receive workers’ comp benefits depends on the severity of their injury, their ability to return to work, and the type of benefits they are receiving.

Total Disability Benefits

Total disability benefits are an important component of the workers’ compensation system in Rhode Island, providing financial assistance to workers who are completely unable to work due to their injuries.

As of January 1st, 2022, Rhode Island has discontinued the intermediate spendable base wage (SBW) calculations and has adopted a new compensation formula. For new injuries, the compensation rate will equal 62% of the claimant’s average weekly wage instead of the previous 75% of their spendable base wage.

Workers with dependents, such as non-working spouses or children under 18, may be eligible for additional dependency benefits. This financial assistance can help alleviate the financial burden of caring for loved ones while recovering from a work-related injury.

There is also a maximum weekly compensation rate for total disability benefits in Rhode Island. This amount is adjusted annually to account for changes in the cost of living.

Total disability benefits are available for as long as a worker is completely unable to work due to their injuries. Workers must provide medical documentation of their disability and work status to continue receiving benefits. In some cases, workers may be required to attend medical examinations or vocational rehabilitation programs to continue receiving benefits.

Partial Disability Benefits

In Rhode Island, injured workers who are able to return to work but are earning less due to their injuries may be eligible for partial disability benefits through the workers’ compensation system. These benefits are designed to provide financial assistance to workers who are unable to earn the same amount of money they were making before their injury or illness.

Partial disability benefits in Rhode Island are calculated as a percentage of the difference between a worker’s spendable base wage before the injury and their current earning capacity. These benefits are available for up to 312 weeks, with a maximum weekly amount that is the same as total disability benefits.

Once a worker’s condition has stabilized and is not likely to improve further, their benefits may be reduced. After reaching maximum medical improvement, a reduction in benefits is intended to encourage injured workers to seek out new job opportunities or vocational training programs that may enable them to earn a higher income.

Scheduled Awards

Rhode Island workers who sustain injuries to specific body parts listed in a state schedule may be eligible for scheduled awards through the workers’ compensation system. These awards provide a set amount of financial assistance to workers based on the type and severity of their injury.

The amount of a scheduled award is calculated based on the worker’s average weekly earnings, subject to a minimum of $90 and a maximum of $180 per week, multiplied by the number of weeks specified in the state schedule for the body part injured. For example, if a worker loses a thumb, the state schedule provides payment for 100 weeks of benefits. The worker’s average weekly earnings are then multiplied by 100 to determine the amount of their scheduled award.

Scheduled awards are available for a variety of injuries to specific body parts, including loss of use of an arm, leg, hand, foot, eye, or ear, as well as amputations, disfigurement, and scarring. The state schedule provides specific guidelines for the duration and amount of benefits available for each type of injury.

Contact a workers’ comp lawyer in R.I.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we have extensive experience representing injured workers in Rhode Island, and we are committed to helping our clients seek the compensation they deserve. Our dedicated legal team understands the challenges that injured workers face, and we work tirelessly to help our clients overcome those challenges and achieve the best possible outcome.

If you have been injured on the job or have developed an occupational illness, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case, answer any questions you may have, and provide you with the information and guidance you need to make informed decisions about your workers’ compensation claim.

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