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 Injuries, Illnesses and Coverage
- Workers Compensation Injuries
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If you are no longer temporarily totally disabled, but your injury or illness prevents you from earning at least 90% of the income you were earning before your accident, you should receive Supplemental Earnings Benefits (often called "SEB"). 

Your Supplemental Earnings Benefits should equal two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly wage before you accident and the amount that you are currently earning (or are capable of earning). 

For example, if you were earning $500 per week prior to your injury and you have returned to work, but are only earning $300 per week in your new position, you should receive Supplemental Earnings Benefits of $133.33 per week. Because Supplemental Earning Benefits are paid monthly, you would actually receive a monthly payment of $577.76 ($133.33 per week, times 52 weeks per year, divided by 12 months), rather than receiving a payment each week.  

You are usually required you to file a Louisiana Department of Labor Form 1020 at the end of each month in order to receive your Supplemental Earnings Benefits. The completed form should be mailed directly to your employers' designated representative or their Workers' Compensation insurance company.  Generally, if you do not file the form, the insurer will not pay the benefits. 

Important points about Supplemental Earnings Benefits:

  • If you are currently receiving Louisiana Workers Compensation Supplemental Earnings Benefits, that means that the Workers Compensation insurance company believes you are currently able to return to some type of work. In most situations, it probably also means either:
    • The Workers Compensation insurance company agrees that you are medically currently unable to return to the job you were performing at the time of your accident, or
    • In the Workers Compensation adjusters opinion, you may be able to perform your old job, but your medical condition prevents you from returning to unrestricted work and your employer no longer has your old job available for you. Though they may believe there is other work you are able to perform, they have not yet been able to develop evidence through "Vocational Rehabilitation" to establish that you are able to earn at least 90% of the income you were earning at the time of your injury. Therefore, they are paying you Supplemental Earnings Benefits until they feel confident that they can convince the Louisiana Office of Workers Compensation that you are able to earn at least 90% of the average weekly wage you were earning before you were injured.
  • The rules that control your time period for filing a claim for Supplemental Earnings Benefits are somewhat convoluted and your rights expire at different times depending upon the types of benefits you have already received during your claim.
  • The total time period during which you can receive Louisiana Workers Compensation Supplemental Earnings Benefits is 520 weeks. The employer-insurer receives a week-for-week credit off of those 520 weeks for any week in which you have already received any other type of Louisiana Workers Compensation income benefits. For example, if you received Temporary Total Disability benefits for two years (104 weeks) while undergoing medical treatment until you reached "maximum medical improvement," you have a maximum of eight years (416 weeks) remaining during which you may receive Supplemental Earnings Benefits SEB.
  • One area that is often disputed when calculating your Louisiana Workers Compensation Supplemental Earnings Benefits is how much you are actually capable of earning. If a doctor has released you to return to work, the Workers Compensation insurance company may treat you as if you are earning income even though you are not actually working. They will then reduce your benefits based upon the amount they claim you are able to earn. To determine how much they believe you can earn, they will have their Vocational Expert obtain a Labor Market Survey. The Vocational Expert will submit the Labor Market Survey to your treating doctor, their examining doctor, or to both, and ask the doctors to check off any jobs they think you are capable to trying.  As the Louisiana Supreme Court has succinctly stated: "All of this can be proven without the cooperation or participation of the employee."
  • Therefore, it is important that you stay involved in the process. You should have a direct discussion with your doctor about your doctor's point of view of your capabilities and limitations. You should also discuss your employment and benefit options with your attorney, including whether the Vocational Rehabilitation process is being fairly and legally conducted. You should also discuss the type of work you believe you are able to perform, the nature of any medical treatment you may need in the future, the possibility of resolving your claim through a lump-sum settlement, your correct Supplemental Earnings Benefit rate, and any other issues that affect the outcome of your claim.

Next: Permanent Partial Disability Benefits



David Buie, Louisiana Workers Compensation Attorney and Social Security Disability Attorney, 650 Poydras Street, Suite 1400, New Orleans, LA 70131, (800) 851-9405 / Fax: (866) 702-5297 Representing claimants in:
Alexandria Baton Rouge Bossier City Covington Gretna
Hammond Harahan Harvey Houma Kenner Lafayette Lake Charles
Laplace Marrero Metairie Monroe New Iberia New Orleans
Opelousas Ruston Shreveport Slidell Terrytown

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