Learn about your right to TTD benefits after an injury at work in SC and how to apply
In South Carolina, workers who suffer work-related injuries, illnesses, or diseases may be entitled to various workers’ compensation benefits to support them during their recovery. These benefits are intended to provide financial assistance and ensure access to appropriate medical care, allowing workers to focus on their recovery so they can eventually return to work.
In cases where a worker is too injured or sick to work for more than a week, they may be eligible for something called temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. These benefits are specifically tailored for those who are temporarily unable to return to any form of employment due to a workplace injury.
In this guide, we’ll help you understand your rights to these benefits, including how to apply for them and what they cover.
If you still have questions about TTD benefits after reading this article or need assistance navigating the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experienced Columbia work injury attorneys at Chappell, Chappell & Newman for a free consultation to learn more about your rights.
What does TTD stand for in disability?
In the context of disability, TTD stands for “temporary total disability.” This term is commonly used in workers’ compensation systems to describe a condition where an employee is temporarily unable to work in any capacity due to an injury or illness that occurred as a result of their job.
Does South Carolina offer short-term disability?
Yes, South Carolina offers temporary total disability (TTD) benefits under its workers’ compensation program. These benefits are designed to provide financial support to eligible employees who are temporarily unable to work due to a job-related injury, illness or disease.
TTD benefits are calculated based on a worker’s average weekly wage and typically continue until the worker is either able to return to work or reaches a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI), at which time other types of benefits may apply if the worker has sustained permanent impairments.
What is the TTD rate for workers’ compensation?
TTD benefits typically provide a worker with two-thirds of their average weekly wage prior to their injury.
However, there are maximum and minimum limits set by state law that are periodically adjusted to reflect economic changes and wage trends. As of 2023, the maximum weekly compensation rate for TTD benefits in South Carolina was $1,035.78, and the minimum weekly compensation was $75.00.
It’s important to note that these payments are typically tax-exempt, meaning the actual take-home amount may be closer to the worker’s regular net pay.
For an accurate calculation of TTD benefits specific to your case, it is advisable to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney.
What is the waiting period for TTD in SC?
In South Carolina, the waiting period for TTD benefits under workers’ compensation is 7 days. This means that an injured worker must be unable to work for a period of 7 consecutive days before they become eligible for TTD benefits, with compensation starting on the 8th day after they’re unable to work.
If the worker remains unable to work due to their injury for more than 14 days, they’re then eligible to receive compensation for the initial 7-day waiting period as well. This system ensures that workers who suffer more prolonged disabilities due to workplace injuries are compensated for the entire duration of their incapacity, from the very first day they were unable to work.
How do I get temporary disability in SC?
To obtain temporary disability benefits through workers’ compensation in South Carolina, follow these steps:
- Report the injury. Inform your employer about the injury as soon as possible. South Carolina law requires you to report the injury within 90 days.
- Seek medical attention. Visit a doctor authorized by your employer or their insurance carrier. It’s crucial to follow this step since treatment from an unauthorized doctor may not be covered. If the doctor deems your injuries serious enough to stop you from working or performing your usual job tasks, they will issue a medical note specifying how long you should stay off work.
- File a claim. Your employer should report your injury to their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. However, to safeguard your rights, you can also file a claim yourself by submitting Form 50 to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
- Receive approval. The insurance carrier will review your claim to determine if it is compensable under workers’ compensation laws. If approved, you will start receiving temporary disability benefits.
- Disagreements and hearings. If there are disagreements regarding your benefits, you may request a hearing with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission for resolution.
If your claim is denied or you want advice as to how much your injury should be worth, it’s advisable to consult a workers’ compensation attorney for guidance specific to your situation.
How long can I receive TTD benefits in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, the period of time you can receive temporary total disability benefits is determined by your medical condition and recovery progress. Your TTD benefits will typically end:
- When you’re able to return to work, whether to your previous position or in a modified capacity, or
- When your treating physician determines that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is when your condition is unlikely to improve even with additional treatment
If you disagree with the decision to stop your benefits or your ability to return to work, you have the option to request a hearing to appeal the decision. Because this process can be complex, it’s advisable to contact an experienced work injury attorney to ensure the proper procedures are followed and increase your chance of success.
What if I’m physically unable to return to work after I’m released by my doctor? Can I still get benefits?
If you’re physically unable to return to work even after reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI), you may still be eligible for certain benefits, depending on your specific situation.
If your injury results in a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to work, you may qualify for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits or permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. The eligibility and amount depend on the nature and extent of your disability.
In South Carolina, the determination of whether an injured worker qualifies for PPD or PTD benefits under workers’ compensation is typically made by the following parties:
- Treating physicians. The primary decision often starts with the injured worker’s treating physician. After treating the injury and observing the recovery process, the doctor will assess the extent of the permanent impairment. If the doctor concludes that the worker has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and still has lasting impairments, they may assign an impairment rating.
- Workers’ Compensation Commission. The final decision on whether an injury qualifies as PPD or PTD and the extent of the benefits is often made by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. This may involve a hearing where evidence, including medical reports and possibly testimony from vocational experts, is considered.
- Vocational experts. In some cases, vocational experts may be involved to assess the injured worker’s ability to return to work in any capacity. Their evaluation can play a significant role in determining whether an injury is categorized as PTD.
Because this process is rather involved and requires specialized knowledge of workers’ compensation law, injured workers can increase their chance of success by hiring a work injury attorney to help them navigate the claim process, gather and present evidence, and advocate on their behalf.
Need help securing workers’ comp benefits? Get help from an experienced South Carolina work injury attorney.
If you’re seeking workers’ compensation benefits and need experienced legal guidance, look no further than Chappell, Chappell & Newman.
With over 30 years of dedicated service, our knowledgeable Columbia work injury attorneys have a proven track record of championing the rights of injured workers. We understand the complexities of these cases and are committed to helping you recover maximum compensation.