Missouri workers’ compensation pays valuable benefits to injured workers, including medical care and weekly disability payments. However, the value of your workers’ compensation claim will vary, depending on the nature and severity of your injuries. In this article, we explain how to calculate your workers’ comp benefits in Missouri.
Missouri workers’ compensation pays the following benefits:
State law limits your benefits and the insurance company does not have to cover all your losses. For example, injured workers cannot receive compensation for physical and emotional stress (called “pain and suffering”) through workers’ compensation. Missouri also caps weekly workers’ comp benefits.
To receive these benefits, you must file a Missouri workers’ compensation claim.
Temporary disability benefits cover a portion of your lost wages while you are recovering from your injuries. You become eligible for temporary benefits after you are unable to work for at least four days. (If your disability lasts for at least 14 days, the insurance company will retroactively pay you for your first three days off work.) Benefits are paid until you:
Temporary total disability. If you’re completely unable to work during this time, you will receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. TTD benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage. However, Missouri sets minimum and maximum weekly amounts. As of July 1, 2016,, you cannot receive less than $40 or more than $911.27 per week. TTD benefits are capped at 400 weeks of payment..
Temporary partial disability. If you can return to work, but you are earning less due to your injury, you can receive temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. TPD benefits are two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly wage before the injury and what you are able to earn now. For example, suppose you used to earn $500 per week, but you now can only earn $300. You would get $133.33 in TPD benefits ($500 - $300 = $200; 0.6666 x $200 = $133.33). TPD benefits are subject to the same maximum as TTD benefits and are capped at 100 weeks of payment.
Once your doctors determine you are at MMI, you might be eligible for permanent disability benefits. In Missouri, permanent total disability (PTD) benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to the state’s maximum benefit (the same as your TTD benefit). You are eligible for PTD benefits only if your injuries or illness prevent you from performing any type of work. PTD benefits are paid as long as you are totally disabled (potentially a lifetime). Missouri sets minimum and maximum PTD benefits ($40 and $911.27 in 2017).
If your doctor finds that your permanent impairments are only partially disabling, you are eligible for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. PPD benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage, subject to the state’s maximum benefit ($477.33, as of July 1, 2016). The duration of the award depends on whether you have a scheduled or unscheduled loss.
Like many states, Missouri has a schedule of losses for injuries to various body parts. If you suffer a total loss of use of a listed body part, you will receive weekly benefits for the period of time set by the schedule. Missouri’s schedule includes the following awards:
Example: Suppose your whole foot is amputated. Before the injury, your average weekly wage was $475. You will receive two-thirds of this amount, which is $316.67 per week, for a total of 150 weeks.
The schedule also covers partial losses of limbs, fingers, and toes. For partial losses, you will receive benefits for a proportionate number of weeks. For example, a 50% loss of use of a foot would be worth 75 weeks. (The complete schedule is available online at the website of the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation.) If your injury results in mutilation or disfigurement, the Division may award up to 40 weeks of benefits, based on the severity of your injuries.
If your permanent impairment is not listed on Missouri’s schedule, the Division will assign you an impairment rating (the percentage of total bodily function that you have lost). Your PPD benefits will be paid for this proportion of 400 weeks. For example, suppose a back injury impairs your total bodily function by 20%. You will receive 80 weeks of PPD benefits (20% of 400 weeks).
If an injury or illness results in death, the worker’s dependents may receive death benefits. A surviving spouse and dependent children can receive up to two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum ($911.27 in 2017). A surviving spouse receives death benefits for life, unless he or she remarries. Dependent children receive benefits until they turn 18 years old (or 22 years old if full-time students). Additionally, the insurance company must pay up to $5,000 for the worker’s reasonable funeral and burial expenses.
Contact a Missouri workers’ comp lawyer immediately if the insurance company disputes your claim or reduces or denies your benefits. A lawyer can help you evaluate your claim, calculate your benefit rates, and ensure that you receive the proper compensation. To learn more, see our page on hiring a workers' comp lawyer.