How Long Can A Person Stay on Workers’ Compensation?

When work-related illnesses and injuries occur, employees often seek workers’ compensation benefits to help ease the financial stress that illness and injury can often cause. These benefits can be tremendously helpful in any number of ways. Often, employees wonder – how long can a person stay on workers’ compensation?  

This is an important and understandable question to ask. After all, medical bills can pile up quickly, especially if an employee is unable to work as a result of an injury or illness. Generally, the length of time an employee may receive workers’ compensation can vary from state to state, and may also depend upon the type of workers’ compensation an employee is receiving.

Various types of workers’ compensation disability benefits and the length of time payments are received might include:

  • Temporary partial disability: A temporary partial disability occurs when a worker sustains an injury or illness but is still able to perform at least some of his or her duties at work. An example might include an employee who sustained a back injury but can effectively work from a seated position while the injury heals. In the case of a temporary partial disability, benefits are typically paid until the injury or illness heals and the employee can return to work as usual.
  • Temporary total disability: A finding of temporary total disability usually occurs when an injured worker is unable to work as a result of a work-related illness or injury, but the condition ultimately isn’t permanent. An example might include an employee who has a severe sprain that requires bed rest but is expected to make a full recovery after a period of bed rest and treatment before they can return to work. In the case of temporary total disability benefits, workers’ compensation payments often continue until the disabling condition has resolved and an employee is back to functioning normally.
  • Permanent partial disability: Typically, an employee is found to qualify for permanent partial disability after a doctor has determined that the employee has reached a state of “maximum medical improvement.” This essentially means that the employee’s condition has improved as much as it can. At this point, if an employee continues to have a permanent impairment as a result of the injury or illness, he or she may become eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. Usually, the employee will receive an “impairment rating” that will help in determining the amount and length of benefits received.
  • Permanent total disability: A finding of permanent total disability is generally made when an employee is unable to continue working at all after sustaining a permanent injury or illness that is not expected to improve sufficiently with treatment to allow the worker to return to gainful employment. For employees who qualify for permanent total disability, these benefits could potentially continue until the employee reaches a particular age depending upon which state they live in, or until the employee does in fact return to work if it becomes possible.

While this advice is intended to be helpful, it’s essential to realize that every claim is unique. As a result, every situation will have various factors in play that may impact how long benefits will be received.  In certain cases, it’s also important to remember that an employee may enter into a settlement agreement that may determine the amount of time that benefits are paid out as well.

For these reasons, it’s essential to find and retain an attorney who knows and understands workers’ compensation law and can provide advice as to particular circumstances. At Roden Law, we’re here to help.


Wherever you find yourself in the workers’ compensation process, the knowledgeable and experienced team at Roden Law can meet you there, and help you move forward as you seek the compensation you need and deserve. Our talented workers’ compensation attorneys understand every aspect of a workers’ compensation claim, and we know the best legal strategies to pursue on your behalf. You need and deserve the best guidance possible, and we’ll provide exactly that as we walk with you each step of the way. If you’re ready to get started, we’re here for you. Give us a call today. We look forward to speaking with you soon.