Temporary Total Disability (TTD) is paid when an injured worker is only PARTIALLY unable to work for a TEMPORARY period because of a work-related injury.
If you’re injured on a job and also have a 2nd job, our Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act mandates that your lost wages for all employment be considered in the calculation of your TTD pay. However, only if the two jobs are “similar”, at the time of the accident. For example, if you worked in retail sales for two employers, these positions might be considered similar. If, however, you are hurt at your retail sales position and your second job is in construction, these positions are likely not similar and your TTD pay will only be based on the job where you were injured.
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The Indiana Court of Appeals recently ruled that an injured employee may be awarded workers’ compensation benefits even if the employee had received unemployment benefits during the same period of time. In Platinum v Collings, 988 NE 2d 1153 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013), the employee suffered a serious injury when a wall fell on him. He was off work for a few weeks and received temporary total disability benefits (TTD). After being released to return to work at no restrictions, the employer closed its business and everyone was laid off. The injured employee, who was still suffering pain from the injury, applied for and received unemployment. He even tried to work a couple of jobs, but was unable to keep working because of his pain. The workers’ compensation board appointed a doctor to perform an independent medical examination or IME, and that doctor stated more treatment was needed and that the employee had been disabled since the date of his injury.
The board ordered payment of TTD minus the amounts the employee received in unemployment. The employer argued that since the employee accepted unemployment, he was representing that he was able to work, so TTD should not be paid. However, the Court, in a well-reasoned opinion, held that TTD is due when the injury causes the employee to be unable to do work of the same character and nature, and that unemployment is available if the employee can do any work. Therefore, it is possible to be eligible for both benefits at the same time, but the employee may only receive one. As such, the Court held the employee is entitled to TTD benefits minus amounts paid for unemployment.
This is a very important decision for injured employees in Indiana. Many times employees who are on temporary restrictions are laid off and the employer refuses to pay TTD benefits in a timely fashion. Therefore, the employee applies for and receives unemployment because it is much faster to get. The problem is that the employer then claims TTD is not owed because the employee is representing to the unemployment that he can work.
Now, that argument will not prevail. If you are laid off while on temporary restrictions for a work injury, and the employer refuses to pay you TTD, and you are forced to apply for unemployment so you will have some kind of income, be sure to tell the unemployment office about the temporary restrictions that the doctor has placed. The Platinum case is authority that you can argue for TTD later.
Nathan B. Maudlin
The law in Indiana provides injured workers with three forms of disability pay: Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Temporary Partial Disability (TPD), and Permanent Total Disability (PTD).
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
The Guide to Indiana Worker’s Compensation, written by the Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana, says that TTD is paid when an injured worker is TOTALLY unable to perform his or her regular work for a TEMPORARY period because of a work-related injury. TTD is paid at sixty-six and two-thirds (66 2/3%) percent of the injured worker’s pre-injury average weekly wage (AWW), or the average wages he or she earned for the fifty-two week period prior to the date the injury occurred.
An injured worker can earn a maximum of 500 weeks of TTD pay.
Example: Jim, a construction worker, trips over some tools left out by one of his coworkers and breaks his ankle. Because of his on-the-job injury, Jim cannot perform his regular job duties and the company has no light duty jobs available that meet his injury restrictions. So, Tom is now TOTALLY disabled from his job. However, since a broken ankle will heal, Tom will only TEMPORARILY be disabled from his construction job. Until he is able to return, Tom will receive TTD benefits.
Before you can receive any type of disability pay for your work injury, the following things must happen:
You will no longer qualify for disability pay if your job can accommodate the doctor’s restrictions and your income is equal to or more than what you drew in TTD benefits. Once you have been released at maximum medical improvement by their doctor, your disability checks will stop even if you are unable to return to the job you held before the work accident. The only exception to this rule is a case involving permanent and total disability.
Depending on your situation, it is likely that you will receive notice from the insurance carrier when your disability pay is about to stop.