How Long Does Workers Comp Last?

Our worker’s compensation system is designed to help injured employees make ends meet while they’re out of work. But the government also sees to it that it won’t be abused by people wanting a “free ride”.

As such, workers’ compensation benefits may not last forever. How long you can continue to receive workers’ comp benefits depends on several factors. This includes the severity of your injury and your ability to go back to work or do any type of work.

Basically, your worker’s compensation benefits only last for as long as you are not yet capable of earning the same income you had before the injury. Or the state’s time limit has passed. Whichever comes first.

Temporary vs. Permanent Benefits

There are two ways to classify workers’ compensation benefits:

  • temporary or permanent
  • total or partial

If you are expected to make a recovery, you might be awarded temporary disability benefits. But if your injury is so severe that your disability is expected to last a lifetime, you could be eligible for permanent benefits.

As the name suggests, temporary benefits typically last for only a few months. While you can continue receiving permanent benefits well into your retirement.

But this still depends on your state. As mentioned, some states also impose time limits on worker’s compensation benefits.

In Florida, for example, you can only receive temporary compensation for up to 104 weeks. If your disability is permanent, you could still be entitled to impairment income benefits after the 104 weeks are up.

An injured man wondering how long workers comp lasts.

How Long Can You Stay Out on Worker’s Comp?

Obviously, disabled workers need time off from work to recover from their injury. Depending on their condition, they may have to leave work for several weeks or months. In some cases, they may never be able to return again.

So if you’re wondering how long you can stay out on worker’s comp, the answer varies. It depends on your state and the nature of your disability. As a general rule of thumb, employees may only go back to work once they get the green light from their doctors. This can be anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.

If you haven’t received a certification from your doctor that you are fit enough to work, your employer cannot force you to. Besides, doing so could be counterproductive.

Even if you haven’t yet made a full recovery, it’s still possible for you to get back to work. Provided that you adhere to the doctor’s work restrictions.

Employers are also responsible for providing the injured worker a “reasonable accommodation“. This refers to adjustments that have to be made in the workplace to give the disabled worker a chance to be as productive as their abled coworkers. This includes installing a ramp, reassigning jobs, or modifying the work schedule among others.

If your employer denies your request for reasonable accommodation, you can contact a worker’s compensation lawyer. If you’re from Florida, we can help you. We’ve already assisted thousands of injured workers to get the benefits they rightfully deserve. Contact us for a free consultation.

Is It Possible to Receive Workers Comp Your Whole Life?

If your disability is deemed to be total and permanent, you’ll most likely qualify for lifetime worker’s comp benefits.

The criteria for lifetime pension varies per state. In California, you can receive lifetime benefits even if you are not totally disabled – as long as you have a disability rating of at least 70%. In Florida, permanent total disability benefits are paid out until the worker reaches 75 years old. But it can extend to a lifetime pension if they are not eligible for retirement benefits.


Victor Malca Law has over 25 years of litigation experience, we are the most trusted workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida. Our area of expertise is in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claim social security disability benefits.

Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are also recognized by our peers. Book a free consultation today.

Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca LawAbout The Author

is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.

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