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Workers' compensation -- Disability benefits:  Waiting period

Statutory language

Below is the statutory language that defines the waiting period.

176.121 Commencement of Compensation. In cases of temporary total or temporary partial disability no compensation is allowed for the three calendar-days after the disability commenced, except as provided by Minnesota Statutes 176.135, nor in any case unless the employer has actual knowledge of the injury or is notified thereof within the period specified in Minnesota Statutes 176.141. If the disability continues for 10 calendar-days or longer, the compensation is computed from the commencement of the disability. Disability is deemed to commence on the first calendar-day or fraction of a calendar-day that the employee is unable to work.

Waiting period application

Below are the important elements in applying the waiting period.

  • The waiting period is counted in consecutive calendar-days, not workdays.

  • The first day of disability is the first day of the waiting period.

  • Any disability (claimed lost time or wages), including a fraction of a day of disability, is considered the first day of disability regardless of whether the employee is paid in full by the employer for that day.

  • Temporary partial disability, including time lost from work to obtain medical treatment for a work-related injury, is considered a day in which there is disability.

  • If there is disability on the 10th calendar-day or beyond (from the first day of disability), compensation is owed from the first day of disability.

  • If the only disability beyond the waiting period is for nonscheduled workdays, generally no compensation is owed for those non-workdays.

  • Counting the waiting period and paying benefits for the disability are separate issues. The claim must be reported to the Department of Labor and Industry and action taken within the timeframes previously described if the claimed disability exceeds the waiting period, even if the insurer is not making payment for the disability.

Waiting period examples

For the following examples, the employee works Monday through Friday.

  • The first day of disability is Fri., March 4, 2005, and the return-to-work date without disability is March 7, 2005. The waiting period is March 4 through 6. The First Report of Injury (FROI) form does not need to be filed with the department and the insurer does not owe compensation, because the only disability occurred within the waiting period.

  • The first day of disability is Fri., March 4, 2005, and the return-to-work date without disability is March 9, 2005. The waiting period is March 4 through 6, so the FROI needs to be filed with the department and timely payment or denial must occur. Compensation might be due for March 7 and 8.

  • The first day of disability is March 1, 2005, and the return-to-work date without disability is March 15, 2005. The FROI needs to be filed with the department and timely payment or denial must occur. Compensation for the entire period from March 1 through March 14 might be due because there is disability on or after the 10th calendar-day from March 1 (March 10).

  • The first day of disability is March 1, 2005, and the return-to-work date without disability is March 2, 2005. The employee again has disability beginning March 7, 2005, and another return-to-work date without disability on March 10, 2005. The FROI needs to be filed with the department and timely payment or denial must occur because the disability extends beyond the waiting period, March 1 through 3. Compensation might be due for March 7 through 9.

  • The first day of disability is March 1, 2005, and the return-to-work date without disability is March 3, 2005. The employee again has disability beginning March 10, 2005, and another return-to-work date without disability on March 15, 2005. The FROI needs to be filed with the department and timely payment or denial must occur because the disability extends beyond the waiting period, March 1 through 3. Compensation for both periods of disability (March 1 and 2, and March 10 through 14) might be due because there is disability on or after the 10th calendar-day from March 1 (March 10).

For the following example, the employee only works Saturdays and Sundays.

  • The first day of disability is Sat., March 5, 2005, and the return-to-work date without disability is Sat., March 12, 2005. The waiting period is March 5 through 7. The FROI needs to be filed with the department and timely action must occur, even though compensation is probably not due because March 8 through 11 are nonwork days.

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