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How is my benefit for lost wages calculated?

One important step in New York's workers' compensation process is figuring out how much an injured worker will receive in order to compensate him or her for lost wages. Along with reimbursement for medical bills and expenses, the benefit an injured Schenectady resident receives for lost income is perhaps the most important aspect of the workers' compensation safety net, since an injured worker could otherwise be left without a livelihood while he or she recovers from an injury.

How much an injured worker in New York will receive depend on two factors. The first factor is how much a person was making per week, on average, prior to his or her injury or illness. While this can in most cases be a matter of collecting paystubs and tax returns, the state's Worker's Compensation Board is available if an injured employee cannot settle with the insurance company on the correct average weekly wage. In any event, the worker will be eligible, in theory, for two-thirds of his or her average wages.

Another factor depends on the "percent" of disability, which is just a way of quantifying how bad a worker's injury really was with respect to whether or not a worker will be able to return to work. The more extensive or severe the injury, the closer a worker will be to 100 percent disability. A disability rating of less than 100 percent will reduce a worker's benefit. For example, a worker who is entitled to $500 a week but who is only 20 percent disabled will receive $100 a week. Workers should be aware that determining the extent of disability often involves complicated rules and processes and is not simply a judgment call.

Finally, although some workers will not make enough to have to worry about this, benefits for lost wages are subject to a weekly cap. Through June 2017, an injured worker can only receive slightly less than $865 a week at the very most, even if they would otherwise qualify for more.

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