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How Long Can You Be on Worker's Comp in Every State?

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A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.
Victoria Muñoz
Lead Attorney
March 31, 2023  ·  3 min read
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As you get workers’ comp to cover your medical bills and lost wages after an illness or injury, the question of how long you can get benefits might come to mind. The answer depends on your state’s policies. To save you the legwork of finding out your state’s limit, we looked through every state’s workers’ comp laws to see how long you can get benefits for your injury.


How long can you be on workers’ comp?

In general, your workers' comp benefits will last until you reach one of four outcomes:

  1. You reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).

  2. You reach your state's limit for weekly benefits.

  3. You return to your regular work.

  4. You agree to a settlement.

In 31 states and Washington, D.C., workers’ comp payments last until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). That's the point where your condition has improved as much as it can through medical care, and your workers' comp doctor believes that additional treatment won't lead to additional recovery.

There are 19 states that set a time limit on how long payments last. For example, California pays benefits for up to 104 weeks for most injuries, and up to 240 weeks for severe conditions.

Workers’ comp will also end if you return to work. You can do modified-duty work while getting benefits as long as you follow your doctor's restrictions. But returning to your regular job will end your benefits. (If your employer is trying to force you back to work, a workers' comp lawyer can help you handle the situation.)

Around the time you reach MMI, the workers' comp insurance may offer you a settlement. It's usually one big payment in exchange for agreeing to end your claim. A settlement can free you to take control over your medical care and recovery timeline, but the first offer you get is rarely the best offer you could get. Negotiating a fairer payout is almost always a good idea. Our settlement guide can help you through the process.


How do you know if you've reached MMI?

Your workers' comp doctor makes the official decision on when you have reached MMI, since they're the one who has been approved by the insurance or the state to treat your injury.

For most people, maximum medical improvement means you've recovered fully and can return to work. MMI could also be the point where your doctor states that you've recovered as much as you can but you won't reach your pre-injury condition.

If your work injury does leave you with a permanent impairment or a disability, you will transition to long-term workers' comp payments, also known as permanent disability benefits.

Atticus has answers to your workers' comp questions.

How long you can get workers’ comp in every state

The table below collects workers’ comp payment lengths across the country. Note that these limits only apply to temporary total disability (TTD) benefits, which cover lost wages as you recover from your injury. If you never fully recover and qualify for long-term permanent benefits, there are different limits.

State

Temporary total disability length

Alabama

Until MMI or you can return to work

Alaska

Until MMI or you can return to work

Arizona

Until MMI

Arkansas

450 weeks

California

104 weeks

Colorado

Until MMI or you can return to work

Connecticut

Until MMI or you can return to work

Delaware

Until MMI or you can return to work

District of Columbia

Until MMI or you can return to work

Florida

104 weeks

Georgia

400 weeks

Hawaii

Until employer decides you can return to work

Idaho

Until MMI or you can return to work

Illinois

Until MMI or you can return to work

Indiana

500 weeks or after receiving $390,000 in benefits

Iowa

Until MMI or you can return to work

Kansas

Until MMI or you can return to work

Kentucky

4 years or until you turn 70, whichever happens last

Louisiana

Until MMI

Maine

Until MMI

Maryland

Until MMI or you can return to work

Massachusetts

156 weeks

Michigan

Until MMI or you can return to work

Minnesota

130 weeks

Mississippi

450 weeks

Missouri

400 weeks

Montana

Until MMI or you can return to work

Nebraska

Until MMI or you can return to work

Nevada

Until MMI or you can return to work

New Hampshire

Until MMI or you can return to work

New Jersey

400 weeks

New Mexico

Until MMI or you can return to work

New York

Until MMI or you can return to work

North Carolina

500 weeks

North Dakota

Until MMI or you can return to work

Ohio

Until MMI or you can return to work

Oklahoma

156 weeks

Oregon

Until MMI, you can return to work, or your employer/insurance believes you can return to work

Pennsylvania

Until MMI or you can return to work

Rhode Island

Until MMI or you can return to work

South Carolina

500 weeks

South Dakota

Until MMI or you can return to work

Tennessee

Until MMI or you can return to work

Texas

104 weeks after your eighth day of disability

Utah

312 weeks within 12 years from your injury

Vermont

Until MMI or you can return to work

Virginia

500 weeks

Washington

Until MMI or you can return to work

West Virginia

104 weeks

Wisconsin

Until MMI

Wyoming

104 weeks


Temporary benefits vs. permanent benefits

Temporary workers’ comp benefits run until the limits mentioned above. If you don’t fully recover from your condition within those time limits, you may qualify for permanent benefits.

Permanent benefits fall into two categories:

  • Permanent partial disability benefits (PPD) provide support to people who can work again but have a permanent impairment or disability from their injury.

  • Permanent total disability benefits (PTD) are for people who can no longer work at all or lose full use of their injured body parts.

Permanent benefits have time limits, which are usually based on the severity of your impairment. Once you reach MMI, your doctor will determine a disability rating that helps calculate your long-term benefits.

It's also common to receive a settlement offer before transitioning to permanent benefits. If workers' comp offered you a settlement, it's a good time to consult a workers' comp lawyer.


Get help with your workers’ comp claim

Workers’ comp rules are complex and vary significantly from one state to the next. Sometimes there are even differences within a state.

Atticus can take the guesswork out of the process by answering your questions (for free) and connecting you with an experienced workers' comp lawyer. A lawyer can help you handle paperwork, plan or schedule your medical care, and negotiate a fair payment for your injuries.

Atticus lawyers also don't change anything upfront. You only pay their fee if they help you win benefits or negotiate a settlement. If they don't win you benefits, you don't owe anything a cent. Take our free workers’ comp quiz to get started.

Maximize your workers' comp benefits.

Find a local workers' comp lawyer

California

Connecticut

Georgia

Illinois

Kentucky

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Pennsylvania

South Carolina

Tennessee

Texas

Wisconsin

Related resources:

How Much Workers' Comp Pays in Every State

A hand draw portrait of a smiling, helpful lawyer.
By Victoria Muñoz

When Will Workers' Comp Offer a Settlement?

See what you qualify for

How long ago did you get an injury or illness at work?

A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.

Victoria Muñoz

Lead Attorney

Victoria Muñoz is an attorney on Atticus’s Workers' Compensation team. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of Stanford Law School, and has counseled hundreds of people seeking workers' compensation. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her pup.
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