How Much Are Workers' Compensation Benefits in Ohio?

Learn when you can receive workers’ comp benefits for a workplace injury or occupational disease, how Ohio calculates the amount of those benefits, and how long the checks will last.

If you have a work-related injury or illness in Ohio, you’re probably wondering what benefits you can receive through the state’s workers’ compensation system. This article explains the types of benefits available to injured employees and the basic rules for determining how much money you can get paid.

To get these benefits, you’ll need to report your injury to your employer, tell the doctor you first see about the injury or illness that it’s work related, and then make sure that the doctor or your employer has filed the proper report to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).

Temporary Total Disability Benefits

If you’re completely unable to work after you’ve had an on-the-job injury or contracted an occupational disease, you’re entitled to temporary total disability benefits. You won’t receive these benefits for the first week unless you’re out of work for at least two weeks straight. The amount of benefits is based on your average earnings before you were injured or became ill, with maximum and minimum amounts determined by the statewide average weekly wage (SAWW) at the time of your injury. There are also limits on how long you can receive these benefits.

How Does Ohio Calculate the Amount of Temporary Total Disability Benefits?

Ohio pays different rates of benefits at two different stages of your temporary total disability, with slightly different caps on the amount:

  • For the first 12 weeks, you’ll receive weekly benefits equal to 72% of your pre-injury wages, up to a maximum of either the SAWW or your take-home pay before the injury (whichever is less).
  • After 12 weeks, your benefits will be two-thirds of your pre-injury wages, up to a maximum of the SAWW.

The SAWW—and therefore the cap on benefits—changes each January. For injuries that happened in 2020, the maximum is $980. (For other years, you can find a list of the maximums at the BWC website.)

If you’re also receiving Social Security retirement benefits, the maximum is lowered to two-thirds of the SAWW (or $653.33 for 2020 injuries).

The minimum for temporary total disability benefits is generally one-third of the SAWW. However, if you earned less than that before your injury, you’ll receive the actual amount of your wages.

How Long Do Temporary Total Disability Benefits Last in Ohio?

In Ohio, you can continue to receive temporary total disability benefits until:

  • you’re able to go back to work, either at your old job or another available position that’s within your ability to perform
  • your doctor says that your condition has improved as much as it’s going to with treatment (a stage known as “maximum medical improvement”), or
  • 200 weeks.

Wage Loss Benefits in Ohio

Ohio pays “wage loss” benefits if you have temporary partial disability, meaning that if you can’t do your normal job because of your workplace injury or occupational disease, but you are able to work in some capacity. These benefits are calculated at two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury weekly wages and your current earnings, up to the amount of the SAWW. For instance, if you previously earned $1,000 a week but now earn $400 a week, you’ll receive two-thirds of $600, or $400 per week in benefits.

If your employer has offered you light-duty work, or you’ve found a new, lower-paying job, you can receive these benefits for up to 200 weeks. You’re also entitled to wage loss benefits while you’re looking for work that accommodates your partial disability; these benefits can last up to 52 weeks; half of that time could be added to the 200-week limit for benefits once you’ve found a new job, for a total maximum of 226 weeks.

Permanent Total Disability Benefits

Once you’ve reached maximum medical improvement—or you’re still receiving temporary total disability benefits at the 200-week point—you’ll be scheduled for a medical exam to determine if you have any permanent limitations as a result of your workplace injury or occupational disease.

You’ll be considered permanently and totally disabled if:

  • you’ve completely lost the use of both hands, arms, feet, legs, or eyes, or any combination of two of those body parts; or
  • you can’t hold any long-term gainful employment that uses skills you already have or could reasonably develop.

With permanent total disability, you’ll continue to receive weekly payments at your temporary total disability rate for the rest of your life.

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

If your doctor finds you have a permanent impairment, but your disability isn’t total, you may still be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. Ohio workers’ comp calculates these benefits in three different ways: for the loss of certain parts of your body, by a percentage of overall disability, or an award for serious disfigurement.

Scheduled Losses

If you’ve suffered an amputation or have completely lost the use of an eye or an extremity (such as fingers, toes, hands, feet, arms, and legs), you’ll receive permanent partial disability benefits for the number of weeks listed in a state schedule for that body part. The weekly amount will be equal to the current SAWW. For example, for the total loss of a foot, you would receive benefits for 150 weeks. For an accident that happened in 2020, the total benefits would be $147,000 ($980 per week for 150 weeks).

Percentage Loss

If you have a permanent impairment other than the loss of one of the scheduled body parts, the doctor will assign a percentage for your permanent partial disability. Your benefits will then be calculated at two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum equal to one-third of the current SAWW. Those benefits will continue for a number of weeks equivalent to your percentage of disability times 200 weeks. For example, if you have a 50% permanent disability, you’ll receive the payments for 100 weeks. However, if your disability is 90% or more, you’ll receive the checks for the full 200 weeks.

Disfigurement

If you have a serious disfigurement to the face or head that would impact your ability to find work, the BWC may award you an amount of compensation that’s considered fair under the circumstances, up to a maximum of $10,000.

Lump Sum Payments for Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

Under special circumstances, in order to give you immediate financial relief or help you rehabilitate, the BWC may pay your permanent partial disability benefits in a lump sum rather than in weekly payments.

Additional Workers’ Comp Benefits in Ohio

Ohio workers’ comp also provides other benefits to injured workers and their survivors, including:

  • Medical benefits. Workers’ comp will pay for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to your work injury or occupational disease. Your employer should give you information on how to get medical treatment through workers’ comp.
  • Mileage reimbursement. You can also receive reimbursement for travel expenses needed to get authorized medical treatment or a medical exam that’s not available in your community. If you’re traveling by car, you can get mileage only if the roundtrip is over 45 miles. You may also be reimbursed for a taxi, meals, and lodging under some circumstances.
  • Vocational rehabilitation. Ohio offers vocational rehabilitation services to help you stay on your old job (for instance, with workplace accommodations or physical therapy) or find new employment.
  • Living maintenance. While you’re enrolled in an approved vocational rehabilitation plan, you may receive living maintenance benefits for up to six months (or longer if the BWC determines that you could benefit from an extension). The maximum amount of these benefits is the amount you would receive for total temporary disability; the minimum is 50% of the current SAWW.
  • Survivor benefits. When an employee dies as a result of a work injury or illness, surviving dependents may receive death benefits. The amount they’ll receive depends on the extent of their financial dependence on the deceased employee. For surviving spouses, minor children, and other total dependents, the amount of the benefit will be two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum of equal to the SAWW (unless the employee was receiving total permanent disability at the time of death). If there were multiple dependents, the death benefit will be apportioned between them.
  • Funeral expenses. Workers’ comp will also pay up to $5,500 in reasonable funeral expenses for a deceased worker.

Limitations of Workers’ Comp Benefits

As you can see by now, workers’ comp benefits only cover a portion of you’re the wages you lose because of a workplace injury or illness—and you won’t receive any money for your pain and suffering. This might not seem fair, but it’s part of the trade-off inherent in the workers’ comp system. The advantage of workers’ comp is that you can receive your benefits relatively quickly without having to file a lawsuit and prove that your employer was to blame for your injury. The disadvantage is that you won’t receive compensation for the full value of your losses. (In a few limited circumstances, however, you might be able to sue outside of the workers’ comp system to recover pain and suffering and other losses from a workplace injury.)

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