When it comes to workers’ compensation benefits, there are two major kinds: temporary total disability and temporary partial disability. If you find yourself injured at work, you may have heard both of these term. You might also be wondering, “Just what exactly do these terms mean and what is the difference between the two?”

Temporary Total Disability

  • Temporary total disability is when you are temporarily out of work completely. In other words, because of your injury, you are unable to work at all. However, the expectation is that you will improve and eventually return to work. This is not a permanent disability.
  • If you qualify for temporary total disability, you will be paid at the rate of 2/3 of your average weekly wage. If you make $360 dollars a week you will be compensated approximately $238 a week — pretty straightforward.

Temporary Partial Disability

  • Temporary partial disability is for when you are unable to work your regular job due to your work injury, but you are able to do some work. Because you are not working your old job, chances are the pay will be lowered to match the work you are doing.
  • When you’re on temporary partial disability, you will be paid at the rate of 2/3 of the difference between what you made on your old job and what you are able to make on your new job. For example, if you made $360 a week at your old job and $200 a week at your new job, you would be compensated approximately $106 from your temporary partial disability benefits — meaning your weekly total would now be approximately $306 a week.

Unfortunately your employer can have you perform whatever job they’ve created for you (e.g. something as menial as counting paper clips or sitting in a chair) until you recover and are able to work at your regular rate.  We refer to these as “make-work jobs.” If you refuse to do this job, then you are giving up your right to weekly disability checks and medical benefits.  

Sometimes an employer will find a reason to fire you while receiving temporary partial disability benefits. Unfortunately in the state of North Carolina, there is no law against firing you while you are on disability benefits, just so long as your employer cites another reason for your termination. If you are fired while you are receiving temporary total disability, your checks will continue.

If you have any questions about temporary total disability or temporary partial disability, contact one of our experienced attorneys at Oxner + Permar. We are devoted to keeping our clients informed of their rights and helping them navigate the ins and outs of workers’ compensation.