If you suffer an injury while working in Maine, you are likely eligible for a series of workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on the severity of your injury and your ability to work, you might receive wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, and job retraining. Learn how to calculate your Maine workers’ comp benefits below. (To receive these benefits, you must file a Maine workers’ compensation claim.)
If your injury completely prevents you from working, you are eligible for total disability benefits. You will begin to receive compensation on your eighth day of missed work. Total disability benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage (AWW), up to the state’s maximum benefit (as of July 1, 2016, $789.35).
Total disability benefits are paid as long as you are completely unable to work; for some workers, this means lifetime benefits. Certain types of injuries are automatically presumed to be disabling for at least 800 weeks (and potentially longer). These injuries include:
Other injuries are considered totally disabling on a case-by-case-basis. If you’re able to work in any capacity, your total disability benefits will stop. However, you may be eligible for partial disability benefits (described below).
Partial disability benefits are paid to workers who can return to work, but at lower wages than normal. Partial benefits are two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury and post-injury wages. For example, if you earned $700 a week before your injury, but you now can only earn $400 at a light-duty job, your partial benefit would be $200 ($700 - $400 = $300; $300 x .667 = $200).
Typically, partial benefits are paid until you either return to your pre-injury wages or receive 520 weeks of benefits (whichever comes first). However, there are several exceptions to the 520-week limit, including the following. Your partial benefits will be extended if:
Additionally, the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board can extend your partial disability benefits if you can show extreme financial hardship, caused by your inability to work.
A specific loss involves the amputation of a body part listed on Maine’s specific loss schedule. If eligible, you will receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage (up to the state’s maximum benefit) for the number of weeks stated in the schedule. The following is a sample of Maine’s specific loss schedule:
The schedule also includes fingers and toes. You are eligible for these benefits even if you immediately return to work and do not suffer a wage loss.
If an injury or illness results in death, the worker’s family typically receives death benefits for up to 500 weeks. Surviving spouses, minor children, and other dependents are eligible for weekly benefits of two-thirds the worker's AWW (up to the state’s maximum benefit). Additionally, the family may receive up to $7,000 for burial expenses and incidental compensation.
Maine workers’ compensation benefit calculations can be difficult. If you need help understanding your right to benefits, contact a Maine workers’ comp lawyer for help. A lawyer can evaluate your claim and determine whether you are receiving appropriate compensation for your injuries.