Does your permanent injury entitle you to compensation?
What is a Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) award?
A cash benefit that pays you for the loss of wage-earning capacity (as determined by the Workers' Compensation Board, with proper consideration of the Workers' Compensation law and the current Permanent Impairment Guidelines.) resulting from a permanent functional impairment of a body part as a result of your on-the-job injury.
An SLU award may be made for injuries to any of the following:
- Arm (shoulder and elbow)
- Hand (wrist and forearm)
- Fingers and/or thumb
- Leg (hip and knees)
- Foot (ankle)
- Toes and/or great toe
- Eyesight (loss of vision)
- Hearing (loss of hearing)
- Disfigurement (face/scar, neck, scalp)
Who is eligible for an SLU award?
You may be eligible if you meet the following requirements:
- You have recovered to the greatest extent possible from your injury.
- Your health care provider has submitted a medical report that 1) follows the current Permanent Impairment Guidelines, and 2) states that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
- You have a permanent loss of function in the injured body part as a result of your on-the-job injury.
Permanent loss of function may result from damage to bone, muscles, cartilage, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and other tissues.
How is MMI determined?
You should ask your health care provider about your progress and whether you have reached MMI. When your health care provider says you have reached MMI, your health care provider must submit a medical report to the Board that states this. The report must include an examination of the injured body part and state the percentage of functional use you have permanently lost in the body part you injured.
For example, the report may state that you have 25 percent less function than you had before your injury. This is also called a schedule loss of use, or SLU.
What happens after a health care provider's medical report is submitted?
- If the insurer agrees with your health care provider's SLU percentage, that percentage will be used to calculate the number of weeks of benefits and the payment you will receive.
- If the insurer does not agree with your health care provider's percentage, the insurer may obtain an opinion from its consultant or independent medical examiner (IME).
- The Board will consider the medical reports on permanency and SLU percentage from your health care provider and the IME, and will issue a decision about your SLU percentage.
- This percentage will then be used to determine the number of weeks of benefits and the payment you will receive.
- After the decision is filed, the insurer has 10 days to pay. If there is a dispute, either party can appeal within 30 days of the decision.
What is the amount of an SLU award?
SLU award amounts are determined by the Workers' Compensation Law (statute), which contains a schedule (list) of the maximum number of weeks of benefits you can receive based on the body part you have permanently injured. The schedule is below:
Using this schedule, your award is calculated based on the following:
- The body part you injured
- The percentage of loss of function (or SLU percentage) as decided by the judge
- Your average weekly wage
Your average weekly wage (AWW) is based on your total gross earnings (not take-home pay) for the 52 weeks before the date of injury or illness, including overtime and other compensation. Your AWW is calculated by dividing your total gross earnings by 52. For example, if your gross earnings are $“x”, you would divide “x” by 52 to obtain your AWW.
|Maximum Weeks Allowed of SLU Benefits||Percentage of Loss of Use||Duration of Weekly SLU Benefits (312 x 25%)||Average Weekly Wage||Weekly SLU Benefit (AWW x 2/3)||*Total Amount of SLU Award (78 x $600)|
|*Any prior payments of temporary benefits will be subtracted from the total SLU award.|
How are awards paid?
Any temporary benefits you have already been paid will be deducted from your SLU award. Your employer may be reimbursed any wages paid to you while you were out of work. These funds will also be deducted from your SLU award. The remaining amount will be paid in one of the following ways:
You will get your regular workers' compensation checks until the SLU award is fully paid
- You can receive a lump sum payment of your SLU award. If your decision is rendered at a hearing, you can ask for the lump sum at that time, or you can write to the Board to request it. The Board will then direct the insurer to issue you a check for the lump sum.
The Board can help you understand your Schedule Loss of Use claim. To contact the Board, call (877) 632-4996.
When contacting the Board, please have the following information ready:
- Your name and WCB case number
- Telephone number (with area code)
- Brief description of the issue
- Any documents or letters received
Print Pamphlet – Understanding Your Schedule Loss of Use Award