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An Examination of California Workers' Compensation Benefits - I

As an employer in the state of California, you are more than likely familiar with the workers' compensation system, your basic legal obligations under state law and the potential need for a strong workers' compensation defense. However, you may not have a true understanding of the intricacies of the system itself.

For example, you may have seen various acronyms for work comp benefits (PTD, TTD, TPD, etc.), and been somewhat uncertain as to what they stood for and under what circumstances an injured employee would be entitled to them.

Today's post is the first in a series. It is designed to help clarify California's system of workers' compensation benefits and debunk common misperceptions.

In California, workers' compensation benefits can be divided into two general categories: temporary benefits and permanent benefits. These two general categories can then be further divided into two subcategories: partial and total.

It breaks down as follows:

• Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
• Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

• Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
• Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

What is a temporary total disability?

Simply put, a temporary total disability is any injury that leaves an employee unable to perform any aspect of their job for a short period. A TTD assumes that the employee will fully recover and return to their previous position. 

How are temporary total disability benefits paid?

The calculation for temporary total disability benefits is fairly basic: multiply the (pre-tax) average weekly wage of the injured employee by 2/3.

When do temporary total disability payments begin and end?

The California Department of Industrial Relations provides a rather concise summary:

"TD payments begin when your doctor says you can't do your usual work for more than three days or you get hospitalized overnight. Payments must be made every two weeks. Generally, TD stops when you return to work, or when the doctor releases you for work, or says your injury has improved as much as it's going to."

It is important to note that in California, an injured employee is eligible to receive 104 weeks of temporary total disability payments within a five years period (beginning from the date of the injury).

Future posts will continue to discuss California work comp benefits ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense ...

Related Resources:
• Work Comp 101: Lost Time Indemnity Benefits Explained (
• CHSWC Summary of System Changes in California Workers' Compensation (The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation)
• Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Workers' Compensation For Employees (California Department of Industrial Relations)

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