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What is discretionary wage differential in workers' compensation?

For Connecticut workers who are injured on the job, there are many issues that are covered by workers' compensation benefits. That includes the worker being paid, getting medical treatment and more. However, some workers will maximize their benefits, be able to get back to work in a different job than the one they had before, but are unable to find employment or to find employment that does not pay the same amount as the previous job. In such a case, it is possible to get Discretionary Wage Differential benefits. This is also known as "308" benefits.

Workers are not guaranteed to receive Discretionary Wage Differential. Once the worker has received the maximum of the Permanent Partial Disability he or she is entitled to and is unable to find a new job or finds a job in which the wages are less than the previous job, a hearing can be requested to seek Discretionary Wage Differential. There is a limit to the amount the person can get with this option.

The Discretionary Wage Differential benefits will be 75 percent of the amount the worker has lost after taxes. The total will be the net difference from what the person is earning and what they would otherwise have been earning had the injury not taken place. If the worker receives this benefit, it may extend to a certain number of weeks. This amount of time might be less than the amount of time that Permanent Partial Disability was paid. It will not go beyond the number of weeks Permanent Partial Disability was received.

Workers' compensation benefits can be essential to the survival of a person and his or her family after a work injury. However, a common problem for those who have gotten Permanent Partial Disability and have maximized their benefits without having the ability to return to the same job is the inability to get another job or to get a job that pays the same amount as before. This is when Discretionary Wage Differential (308 benefits) will be useful. Having legal assistance from an attorney who understands all areas of workers' compensation is imperative when trying to get these or any other benefits.

Source: wcc.state.ct.us, "State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission -- Discretionary Wage Differential '308a' Benefits," access on April 8, 2018

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