Once temporary total disability (TTD) benefits have begun, the SC Workers’ Compensation Act contains rules for when an employer can stop making TTD payments.
Below, we will look at what SC workers’ compensation laws say about when an employer can stop making TTD payments, including:
If an employee’s work-related injury results in a total inability to work, they are entitled to TTD benefits in the amount of 66 2/3 of their average weekly wage until they can return to work or until the disability is deemed permanent (see SC Code § 42-9-10).
When do TTD benefits begin, when do they end, and what happens if the injury results in a permanent disability?
SC Code § 42-9-260 contains rules for when TTD benefits can begin and when an employer can terminate TTD payments.
If you have been out of work due to an on-the-job injury for at least eight days, your employer “may start temporary disability payments immediately and may continue these payments for up to one hundred fifty days from the date the injury or disease is reported without waiver of any grounds for good faith denial.”
When your employer begins payments, they must notify the Workers’ Compensation Commission that payment of compensation has begun.
In most cases, TTD benefits are paid until you are cleared to return to work by your doctor or until your doctor finds that you have reached maximum medical improvement and assigns an impairment rating.
If your TTD benefits are exhausted before you can return to work, or if your doctor finds that you have reached maximum medical improvement, you may be eligible to receive permanent total disability benefits.
Your benefits could last up to 500 weeks for the most severe injuries, but SC workers’ compensation law sets a length of time based on the type of injury.
SC Code Section 42-9-30 provides a set number of weeks for how long workers’ compensation benefits last in SC – payment of 2/3 of your average weekly wages – based on the type of disability that was suffered.
What are the rules for when an employer can stop making TTD disability payments? It depends on whether they stop making the payments before or after the 150-day mark.
SC Code § 42-9-260 lists six things that could trigger the termination of your benefits within the first 150 days:
If your employer terminates TTD payments within the first 150 days, they do not need your consent or an order from the Commission, but they must notify the Commission by filing a Form 15 if your benefits are terminated or suspended for any reason.
If your employer terminates your TTD payments, however, you can request a hearing with the Commission to ask them to reinstate your benefits.
SC Code § 42-9-260 provides only three “triggers” that will terminate your benefits if you have been receiving benefits for more than 150 days:
After the 150-day mark, your employer must request a hearing before the Commission before terminating or suspending your TTD benefits for any reason unless 1) you waive the hearing in writing or 2) you have voluntarily returned to work.
If your employer suspends your TTD payments without cause or otherwise violates the rules contained in § 42-9-260, the employer can be fined a 25% penalty – which goes to the employee in addition to the amount of benefits that were withheld.
Your Myrtle Beach worker’s compensation lawyer on the Axelrod team will help you to file your claim, determine how long your workers’ compensation benefits may last, and represent you before the workers’ compensation commission for any hearings and appeals.