If you can’t work after a job injury, and you qualify for Illinois workers’ compensation, you should receive 2/3 of your average weekly wage in the form of benefits checks. This benefit is called Temporary Total Disability, or TTD. Your TTD checks should come on a regular basis, with the first one ideally arriving within two weeks.

So what is your “average weekly wage?” It’s an important question. For some, it’s a simple calculation. You add up your gross pay over the 52 weeks prior to your injury and divide by 52. It may not be simple, however, if your pay varies considerably or includes commissions, bonuses or overtime. For example, bonuses might not get included. The more pay that does count, the bigger your benefits checks will be, so make sure everything is included and don’t trust your employer or their insurance company to do the math in your favor. Note that there are minimum and maximum amounts, set by law, for TTD in Illinois.

TTD doesn’t start on the first day you are injured. The benefit doesn’t kick in until you have been out of work for a certain amount of days. Once you miss three days of work because of your injury, you qualify for TTD. If you end up missing 14 days, you can get paid retroactively for those first three. In other words, missing a day or two of work doesn’t get you any lost-pay benefits.

Sometimes, an employer has light-duty work available for an injured employee. If that position pays less than your regular position, you can get benefits in the amount of 2/3 of the difference. Whether you can do light-duty work depends on your work restrictions after your injury.

Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, and it’s the insurance company that is in charge of paying benefits. It’s also the insurance company that you’ll be dealing with, not your boss or supervisor. If anyone at work is encouraging you not to file a claim, it’s a red flag.

Despite what the law says, insurers deny claims and benefits all the time. If you aren’t receiving your checks, or if the amount of your checks is incorrect, contact an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney. Find someone experienced and be sure they are familiar with the intricacies of the average weekly wage rules. They also should be familiar with the games insurance companies play.