After PPD Benefits – 308a Benefits Can Help
As I wrote in my post “PPD Benefits in Workers’ Compensation Claims”, once you are assigned your PPD rating the clock is running on your benefits. The realization that time is running out is truly frightening. An experienced Connecticut workers’ compensation attorney however, knows continued benefits are possible. These benefits are referred to as “308a benefits.”
This designation is a reference to Connecticut General Statute §31-308a:
(a) . . .the commissioner. . . may award additional compensation benefits for such partial permanent disability . . . . . The duration of such additional compensation shall be determined upon a similar basis by the commissioner, but in no event shall the duration of such additional compensation exceed the lesser of (1) the duration of the employee’s permanent partial disability benefits, or (2) five hundred twenty weeks. Additional benefits provided under this section shall be available only to employees who are willing and able to perform work in this state.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, additional benefits provided under this section shall be available only when the nature of the injury and its effect on the earning capacity of an employee warrant additional compensation.
Translating the above, the workers’ compensation commissioner has discretion to award 308a benefits. The discretion is twofold:
- the commissioner controls the amount awarded
- the number of weeks awarded
Let us take a step back. 308a benefits are closely tied to a workers’ PPD award. So let use the following as our example:
- Injury to clerical worker’s right shoulder
- Award a 10% disability rating equating to PPD benefits for 20.8 weeks
- Injured worker’s PPD benefit is $500.00 per week
- PPD benefits have all been paid
Commissioner’s Discretion Controls the Amount
Given the above, the worker’s compensation commissioner can award the worker $500.00 per week and no greater. Often a worker is awarded less. Typically, the commissioner reduces the benefit to reflect the injured worker’s work capacity. Suppose the commissioner determines that the clerical worker, despite the injury, can work 20 hours a week at $10.00 per hour. In that instance, the commissioner will only award $300.00 per week. This reduction reflects the worker’s earning capacity.
Commissioner’s Discretion Controls the Number of Weeks
The commissioner discretion also extends to the number of weeks an injured worker might receive 308a benefits. Our example mandates that the award not exceed 20.8 weeks. Thus, at best the injured worker can receive no more than $500.00 per week in PPD benefits for 20.8 weeks. It is quite likely that the injured worker will receive less.
There are other nuances to this statute. For example, the injured worker must be willing to work within the borders of Connecticut. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney knows these laws and can help. 308a benefits do not stop the ticking clock, but it might give an injured worker more time to land on their feet.