What if I cannot return to work?
The answer to this question involves several complicated issues. If you are unable to return to work because of your work-related injury, you may be entitled to a weekly benefit of two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum cap, for the rest of your life.
To be entitled to this benefit, you must be totally disabled from any employment. If you are totally disabled because of a combination of a pre-existing disability plus the disability caused by your work-related accident, then you may be entitled to benefits from the Second Injury Fund. Generally, this benefit is two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to the maximum cap, for the rest of your life.
Under Workers’ Compensation you are not totally disabled simply because you are unable to return to your old job. To be totally disabled under Workers’ Compensation, you must be disabled from all employment and not simply the employment you had before the accident.
Any time you are disabled from employment, you should also consider whether you are entitled to Social Security disability benefits. There is sometimes a set off between Social Security disability benefits and Workers’ Compensation benefits, and you should always contact an attorney experienced in Workers’ Compensation law if you are receiving or plan on receiving both Workers’ Compensation benefits and Social Security disability benefits.
Is my employer required to hold my job?
The Missouri Workers’ Compensation law does not require the employer to hold your job while you recover from your disability. However, there are other federal and state statutes that give a worker some protection, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Family Leave Act, and the Missouri Human Rights Act. These laws are complicated and if you believe you have not been treated fairly, you should contact an attorney experienced in this area of the law.