When you suffer a work injury in Illinois, you are entitled to various workers’ compensation benefits. One of these benefits is a portion of your lost pay if you can’t work while you recover. This benefit, known as Temporary Total Disability (or TTD), should come as a check on a regular basis, similar to getting a paycheck. Your first TTD check should (ideally) come within two weeks. The payments are tax-free.

So how much will you get? TTD benefits are 2/3 of your weekly pay. The exact amount is based on what’s called your “average weekly wage.” Your average weekly wage is pretty much what it sounds like. You look at the 52 weeks prior to your injury, add up all your gross pay, and divide by 52.

Overtime and bonuses might not count, but there are exceptions. If your pay varies or includes commission, bonuses or overtime, you have to make sure that you aren’t getting shorted because something was left out that should have been included. The more pay that counts toward your average weekly wage, the more you will get. If you had a second job, you might be able to include those wages, as well. Note that there are TTD maximum and minimum amounts, set by law, which apply to everyone.

Compensation for lost wages doesn’t kick in until you are out of work for a certain amount of time. If you only have to miss one day, then you don’t get missed pay. Once you miss three days, however, these benefits kick in. If you end up missing 14 days, you can get paid retroactively for those first three.

If your employer has light-duty work for you, but it pays less, you can get 2/3 of the difference through workers’ compensation. These are called wage differential benefits. If your employer can’t find work for you within your restrictions, then you are entitled to TTD payments.

Workers’ compensation benefits, including checks while you are unable to work, are paid by your employer’s insurance company. Some claims do get denied, and it’s not uncommon to have a disagreement over the amount of TTD a worker is owed. Know that the insurance companies don’t get the final say. A worker’s comp judge, called an arbitrator, can make a neutral decision based on the facts.

We are workers’ compensation attorneys who help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

By Michael Helfand