NH Benefits – The type of workers’ compensation disability benefits that an injured employee may receive depends on the extent of the disability that the injured employee suffers related to the work injury.
Total Disability Benefits
An employee who is totally disabled due to a work injury will generally be entitled to receive temporary total disability benefits. Employees who are totally disabled due to their work injuries, and therefore cannot return to work, are eligible for these benefits. An injured employee entitled to temporary total disability benefits will generally receive a weekly payment equivalent to 60% of the employee’s average weekly wage at the time of the injury. This amount (60% of the employee’s average weekly wage) is known as the employee’s compensation rate. The injured employee will receive this amount unless the injured employee’s average weekly wage is so low that the employee is entitled to the minimum compensation rate, or so high that the employee is entitled to the maximum compensation rate. The New Hampshire Department of Labor adjusts the minimum and maximum compensation rates on or about July 1 annually. The minimum compensation rate is currently $307.50, and the maximum compensation rate is currently $1537.50. An employee entitled to the minimum or maximum compensation rate will receive the minimum or maximum rate in effect on the date of the employee’s work injury.
Partial Disability Benefits
An employee who is partially disabled may receive temporary partial disability benefits if the employee is working, or benefits at the Diminished Earning Capacity rate in the absence of available work opportunity. An employee who is partially disabled and working may receive weekly temporary partial disability benefits in the amount of 60% of the difference between the average weekly wage that the employee earned as of the date of injury and the average weekly wage that the employee is able to earn thereafter. A partially disabled employee who is not working but has work capacity may receive benefits at what is called the Diminished Earning Capacity rate. The amount of a weekly benefit owed an employee entitled to the Diminished Earning Capacity rate is determined by computing 60% of the difference between the injured employee’s average weekly wage at the time of injury on the one hand and 80% of the State minimum wage in effect on the date of injury using the average number of hours per week the claimant worked. An employee can only receive partial disability benefits for 262 weeks. If the employee becomes partially disabled after a period of total disability, the period of total disability is deducted from the 262 weeks.
If you have a question regarding the workers’ compensation benefits to which you may be entitled, you should consult an attorney experienced in representing injured employees in workers’ compensation matters such as Benjamin King at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. Attorney King can be reached at (603) 288-1403.