In Minnesota, injured workers receive medical treatment, disability payments, and other valuable benefits through workers’ compensation. Your benefits will vary depending on the nature of your claim, your wages, and other factors. This article explains how workers’ compensation benefits are calculated in Minnesota.
The following types of benefits are available through workers’ comp in Minnesota:
You cannot receive workers’ compensation until you file a Minnesota workers’ compensation claim. If you need help with the claims process, contact a workers’ comp lawyer for assistance.
Temporary disability benefits cover a portion of your lost wages while you are recovering from your injuries. Benefits are paid once you have been off work for more than three days. (If your disability lasts for ten days, you will be retroactively paid for these first three days.) Benefits are paid until your doctors believe your condition will no longer improve (called maximum medical improvement or MMI), or up to a maximum number of weeks.
Temporary total disability. If you’re completely unable to work, you can receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. TTD benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage, subject to a maximum and minimum weekly amount set by law. As of July 1, 2016, you won’t receive more than $1,046.52 or less than $130. TTD benefits are paid for a maximum of 130 weeks, unless the insurance company approves job retraining.
Temporary partial disability. If you can return to work, but you are earning less than you usually do, you can receive temporary partial disability (TPD) benefit. TPD benefits are two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury and post-injury wages (up to the state’s maximum benefit). For example, if you used to earn $800 in weekly wages, but you now can only earn $200, you would get $400 in TPD benefits ($800 - $200 = $600; 0.6666 x $600 = $400). TPD benefits are limited to either 250 weeks of paid benefits or 450 weeks post-injury (whichever comes first).
Once your doctors determine you are at MMI, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits. In Minnesota, permanent total disability (PTD) benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage. The state’s maximum benefit applies to PTD claims and Minnesota sets a minimum PTD benefit ($1,046.52 and $667, as of July 1, 2016). State law presumes that you are totally and permanently disabled if you:
If you meet any of these criteria, PTD benefits must be paid even if you return to work.
Other injuries and occupational illness may also be permanently and totally disabling. However, you must meet additional thresholds, based on your age and education. These thresholds include:
If you meet these criteria, your PTD benefits are paid as long as you are totally disabled (potentially a lifetime).
If your doctor finds that your permanent impairments are only partially disabling, you are eligible for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. Instead of paying a set amount for certain body parts, like some states do, Minnesota assesses how much you have lost of your total body function. Once you reach MMI, your doctor will give you a total body impairment rating, stated as a percentage. (Minnesota publishes guidelines to help doctors calculate these percentages, which are available on the Department of Labor’s website.)
Your PPD rate is not based on your average weekly wage, unlike most other workers’ comp benefits. Instead, Minnesota law has a compensation schedule. Your impairment rating is multiplied by the scheduled award. The compensation schedule includes:
Example: Imagine you have a 35 percent impairment rating. You will receive a total PPD benefit of $38,500 ($110,000 x 0.35 = $38,500). PPD benefits can be paid either over time or in a lump sum. (If you choose a lump sum, your award will be reduced by five percent.)
If you disagree with your impairment rating or need help understanding your PPD benefit amounts, contact an experienced Minnesota workers’ comp lawyer. A lawyer can evaluate your claim and, if necessary, appeal your impairment rating. (To learn more, check out our page on hiring a workers' comp lawyer.)
If an injury or illness results in death, the worker’s spouse and dependents may receive weekly death benefits. These benefits are two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage up to the state’s maximum rate ($1,046.52 in 2017). Additionally, the insurance company must pay up to $15,000 for the worker’s reasonable funeral and burial expenses.
Minnesota also requires cost of living increases after a period of time. The frequency and amount of your increase will vary, depending on your date of injury. If you were injured on or after October 1, 2013, you are eligible for your first cost of living adjustment (or COLA) on the third anniversary of your injury. From then on, you will receive an annual COLA of up to three percent.