In Idaho, injured workers are eligible for a series of workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on the nature of your injury and your ability to work, you might receive disability benefits, medical treatment, and vocational retraining. Learn how Idaho workers’ comp payments are calculated below. (To receive these benefits, you’ll need to start your official workers’ compensation claim in Idaho.)
Idaho workers can receive either temporary total benefits or temporary partial benefit while they recover from their injuries. You will not receive compensation for your first five days off work, unless you are disabled for more than 14 days or your injuries required an overnight hospitalization. The state a maximum benefit rate each year, which is $677.70 per week in 2018.
If you’re unable to perform any type of work while recovering from your injury, you will be eligible for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. In Idaho, the TTD benefit rate depends on how long you ahave received benefits. For the first 52 weeks, you will receive 67 percent of your average weekly wage (AWW). After that, you will receive 67 percent of the state’s AWW.
TTD benefits are subject to the state’s weekly minimum and maximum (as mentioned above). You will continue to receive these benefits until you return to work or until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). This occurs when your doctor determines that your condition will no longer improve with treatment.
Temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits are paid to workers who can return to work while they’re recovering, but at lower wages than normal. TPD benefits are 67 percent of the difference between your pre-injury and post-injury wages. For example, suppose you earned $500 before your injury, but you are now working a light-duty job that pays only $350 a week. Your weekly TPD benefit would be $100.50 ($500 - $350 = $150; .67 x $150 = $100.50). TPD benefits are paid until you return to work at your normal wages or until you reach MMI.
Once you reach MMI, you will be evaluated for a permanent disability. Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits are paid to workers with debilitating injuries who are unable to do any work. PTD benefits are 67 percent of the state’s average weekly wage ($504.51 in 2018). PTD benefits are paid as long as you are totally disabled—potentially for a lifetime.
If you have permanent limitations but can return to work, you may be eligible for permanent partial impairment (PPI) benefits. Idaho pays PPI benefits for both scheduled losses and whole body injuries. PPI benefits are paid at 55 percent of the state’s average weekly wage ($4014.15 in 2018). Impairment benefits are paid on a monthly basis.
A scheduled loss involves an amputation or the total loss of use of a body part listed in Idaho’s schedule. You will receive 55 percent of the state’s average weekly wage for the number of weeks stated in the schedule. Idaho’s schedule is very detailed; here are some of the awards:
The schedule also includes total and partial loss of limbs, fingers, and toes. For a partial loss, you will receive benefits for a proportionate number of weeks. For example, if you have a 10% loss of use of the hand, you would receive benefits for 27 weeks (10% of 270 = 27).
The entire schedule is set out in Idaho’s workers’ compensation laws. If you need help calculating your scheduled loss award, contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer.
Many injuries—including neck, back, and lung injuries—are not included in Idaho’s schedule. These permanent partial disabilities are compensated as a percentage of your whole body. Once you reach MMI, your doctor will evaluate you and determine how much total body function you have lost (stated as a percentage). A whole body injury is based on 500 weeks of benefits. Your unscheduled PPI award will be: % impairment x 500 weeks x 55% of the state’s AWW.
In addition to PPI, you may also be eligible for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. While PPI addresses your medical issues and limitations, PPD benefits focus on how your age, education, and other factors further limit your ability to work.
For example, an injury may cause a 15 percent PPI rating. However, suppose that worker has less than a high school diploma and has a hard time reading. Due to these non-medical factors, the worker may struggle with a job change. A vocational expert will evaluate the worker’s ability to transition to new work and will assign a disability percentage in excess of the PPI rating.
PPD is calculated in the same way as unscheduled PPI benefits. For example, suppose you have a 35 percent PPD rating. You would receive 55 percent of the state’s average weekly wage for 175 weeks (.35 x 500 weeks = 175 weeks.)
If an injury or illness results in death, the worker’s family may receive death benefits for up to 500 weeks. Surviving spouses, minor children, and other dependents are eligible for a weekly benefit payment. This benefit amount varies, depending on the worker’s marital status and number of dependents, but cannot be more than the state’s maximum weekly benefit. Additionally, the family may receive up to $6,000 for burial and funeral expenses. (To learn more, see our article on Idaho death benefits.)