How Much Are Workers' Compensation Benefits in Minnesota?

Learn how much compensation you may receive in Minnesota for a work-related injury or illness, and how the state has loosened workers' comp eligibility for some frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minnesota workers' compensation system provides medical treatment, temporary disability payments, and other valuable benefits for employees with work-related injuries and illnesses. The benefits you might receive will depend on your individual circumstances, including your medical condition and how much you earned before you were hurt. This article explains how the most important kinds of workers' comp benefits are calculated in Minnesota.

Temporary Disability Benefits in Minnesota

Temporary disability benefits cover part of your lost wages while you're recovering from your work-related injury or illness. There's a three-day waiting period before benefits start, unless you're off work for at least ten days.

Temporary Total Disability Benefits

If you're completely unable to work because of your injury, you may receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. The amount of these benefits will be two-thirds of your average weekly wage before you were hurt or became ill, up to a maximum that changes each October, based on the statewide average weekly wage. For injuries that happened in the year beginning October 1, 2020, the cap is $1,666.88 per week. There's also a minimum weekly payment: $130 for injuries that happened before October 1, 2021; after that, the minimum will be 20% of either the maximum payment or the employee's weekly wage, whichever is less.

TTD benefits will stop:

  • when you're able to return to work
  • 90 days after doctors have reported that your medical condition won't improve any more (a stage known as "maximum medical improvement," or MMI), or
  • after you've received benefits for the maximum time allowed (130 weeks for TTD), unless you're participating in an approved retraining program when you hit the limit.

Temporary Partial Disability Benefits

You may receive temporary partial disability benefits if you're able to do some work but are earning less than your pre-injury wages because of the limitations caused by your injury.

In Minnesota, TPD benefits are two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury and post-injury wages (up to the same maximum amount as for TTD). For example, if you used to earn $1,200 in weekly wages, but you now can only earn $600, you would get $400 in TPD benefits ($1,000-$600 = $600; 0.6666 x $600 = $400).

Even if you still aren't able to work at your pre-injury wages, TPD benefits will stop once you've received these payments for 250 weeks or when 450 weeks have passed since your injury, whichever comes first.

Permanent Disability Benefits

If you have some level of ongoing impairment after you've reached MMI, you may be eligible for permanent partial or total disability benefits, depending on the extent of that impairment.

Permanent Partial Disability

Once you reach MMI, your doctor will give you a total body impairment rating, expressed as a percentage. Unless you're permanently and totally disabled (more on that below), the rating will determine the amount of permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits you'll receive. In Minnesota, PPD benefits are calculated by multiplying the impairment rating by a dollar amount shown in a compensation schedule in Minnesota law.

For example, under the schedule effective in 2021:

  • If you have a 10% total body impairment rating, your benefit will be $84,000 x .10, or $8,400.
  • For a 35% impairment rating, the benefit would be $115,500 x .35, or $40,425.
  • An impairment rating of 60% would result in a benefit of $199,500 x .60, or $119,700.

PPD benefits may be paid in installments or in a lump sum (reduced by up to 5%). You can find the full compensation schedule in the current Minnesota statute.

Permanent Total Disability

You may receive permanent total disability (PTD) benefits in Minnesota if your injury has left you completely and permanently unable to work at anything more than sporadic employment, as long as you have a certain level of whole body impairment (with the threshold depending on your age and education). However, the law presumes that you qualify for PTD if, as a result of your injury, you permanently:

  • lost both arms or legs at the shoulders or hips
  • are blind in both eyes
  • are completely paralyzed, or
  • lost all of your mental faculties.

If you meet any of these criteria, you'll continue to receive PTD benefits even if you return to work. Otherwise, PTD benefits continue as long as you're totally disabled.

The amount of these benefits will be two-thirds of your pre-injury wages, up to the same maximum as for TTD benefits (with a minimum based on 65% of the statewide average weekly wage). However, once you've received a total of $25,000, the amount of your weekly payments may be reduced to offset any government disability benefits you receive based on the same injuries.

Other Workers' Compensation Benefits Available in Minnesota

Minnesota workers' compensation also provides other benefits, including:

  • reasonable and necessary medical treatment for the work-related injury or illness
  • mileage for travel to get medical treatment
  • vocational rehabilitation services, such as job retraining and help finding a new job if your old employer can't offer you work within your physical limitations; and
  • death benefits for the spouse and dependents of an employee who died as a result of a work-related injury or illness, as well as reasonable burial expenses up to $15,000.

When You Need Help With Workers' Comp Benefits in Minnesota

If your workers' comp claim is denied, or if you disagree with the impairment rating assigned to you, you should speak with an experienced Minnesota workers' comp lawyer who can evaluate your claim and help you get the benefits you deserve. If you're worried about the cost, it may help to know Minnesota generally limits the amount of fees that workers' comp attorneys may charge: a maximum 20% of the first $130,000 in benefits that the lawyer helps you collect after the insurance company refused to pay, not including benefits for medical treatment or vocational services.

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