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Wage Differential Benefits Can Make Up for Lost Career

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

Wage Differential Benefits Can Make Up for Lost CareerSuffering a permanent disability as the result of a workplace injury can be the end of your career, but it does not have to be the end of your life as a worker. There are other careers that may be able to accommodate your physical limitations better than your previous career. However, you may be unable to find a new job that pays you as well as your previous career. You worked your way up to a higher level position in your previous career, while you are starting at the bottom of your new career. You can compensate for this loss of income by requesting wage differential benefits during your workers’ compensation case.

How It Works

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act allows for wage differential benefits in Permanent Partial Disability cases where the injured party is incapable of continuing the same job but is able to find new work. According to the law:

  • The worker receives two-thirds of the difference between what he or she would be making at his or her previous job and what he or she is able to make in his or her new career; and
  • The worker will receive the benefits until he or she is 67 or for five years, whichever is longer.

There is a maximum wage differential benefit that you can receive, based on the state average weekly wage.

Comparison to Scheduled Injury

Wage differential benefits are an alternative to scheduled injury benefits, which are 60 percent of a worker’s average weekly pay and given for a certain number of weeks, based on which body part has been disabled. The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that wage differential benefits are preferable to scheduled injury benefits, which assume a certain amount of compensation based on the type of disability. The court noted that the loss or impairment of a body part can have a more devastating effect on some careers than others.

Proving Case in Court

All permanent disability cases require the claimant to show he or she has reached maximum medical improvement and that the disability is preventing him or her from performing his or her normal job duties. With wage differential benefits, the claimant may also need to prove that his or he current wage is the best he or she can obtain after a reasonable job search.

Permanent Disability Benefits 

You may qualify for Permanent Total Disability benefits if you are incapable of obtaining a new job because of your disability. A McHenry County workers’ compensation attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can discuss which benefits you may be able to receive for your permanent disability. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838. 



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