Workers’ compensation is a safety net that seeks to support employees in the event of work-related injuries or illnesses. In California, the workers’ compensation system provides a range of benefits to ensure that injured workers receive the necessary support and care.
Understanding the types of benefits available is important for employees navigating the complexities of the workers’ compensation process.
1. Medical treatment benefits
A primary benefit offered under California’s workers’ compensation system is medical treatment coverage. This includes coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications and rehabilitation services. The goal is to ensure that employees have access to adequate medical care so they can get back to work.
2. Temporary disability benefits
When a work-related injury or illness temporarily prevents an employee from performing their job duties, temporary disability benefits come into play. These benefits provide a partial replacement of lost wages during the recovery period. Temporary disability benefits are a financial lifeline for injured workers. They aim to help them cover their basic living expenses while they heal and are unable to work.
3. Permanent disability benefits
When an injury or illness results in a permanent impairment or disability, permanent disability benefits may apply. These benefits compensate workers for the lasting impact on their ability to earn a living.
4. Supplemental job displacement benefits
For workers who face permanent disability but are unable to return to their previous job, California’s workers’ compensation system provides supplemental job displacement benefits. This benefit supports workers in acquiring new skills or education to re-enter the workforce in a different role. It includes funding for retraining programs and skill development to enhance employability.
5. Death benefits
In cases where a work-related injury or illness leads to death, California workers’ compensation extends death benefits to the surviving dependents. These benefits assist the family in coping with the financial repercussions of the loss. They may go toward covering funeral expenses or providing ongoing support.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that California employees filed 14,197 claims for workers’ compensation as of mid-December 2023. Understanding how and when these benefits apply is necessary for anyone navigating the aftermath of work-related injuries or illnesses.