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How Long Does It Take to Start Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits?

August 7, 2023

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If you were recently hurt on the job, you may be looking at several weeks or months without a paycheck. And when you have expensive medical bills headed your way, you need a way to replace your lost income—and fast.

For most injured workers, that means applying for workers’ compensation benefits, but it also raises two important questions: “Will I get approved for benefits?” and “When will I start receiving my checks?”

Having an Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer on your side can not only help you maximize your chances of getting compensation, but it also may result in you getting the benefits you need sooner.

Here are the primary factors that go into determining how long it takes for applicants to get workers’ compensation benefits after work injuries.

The Process Starts the Day You Apply for Benefits—Not the Day You’re Injured

After a work injury, it’s important to act quickly. Not only do you need to report the injury to your supervisor as soon as possible, but you also need to either apply for workers’ compensation on your own or with the help of a lawyer as soon as possible.

The process of receiving benefits only starts once you formally apply for them—not when your injury occurs or is documented and reported by your employer. The longer you wait to apply for benefits, the longer you may go without the money you need for your lost income and medical bills.

Keep in mind that you have just one year from the date of a temporarily or permanently disabling work-related injury or illness to file a workers’ compensation claim in Ohio. If you wait longer than that to apply for benefits, you’re automatically ineligible.

You Can’t Officially Start or Continue Your Claim Until You See a Doctor

As soon as you’re injured at work, you need to start making plans to see a doctor. Ideally, you should go directly from the worksite where you were injured to your doctor’s office. If that’s not possible, you should make an appointment and visit as soon as you can.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) allows injured workers to visit any doctor, including their primary care providers, for their first visits after work injuries. After you’ve applied for workers’ compensation benefits, you must see a BWC-certified doctor. However, you’re allowed to see ANY BWC-certified doctor, and you’re not required to see any doctors recommended by your employer.

Your Application Will Be Approved or Denied Within 28 Days of Submission

After you’ve applied for benefits, you may have to wait for up to four weeks to hear back from the BWC on whether your claim has been approved or denied. If your application is approved, you will receive benefits both for the remainder of the time your disability keeps you out of work, as well as backpay for the period of time you were out of work before the BWC approved your application.

If your application is denied by the BWC, you have 14 days to appeal its decision. Instead of appealing directly to the BWC, you must appeal to the Industrial Commission of Ohio. Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help improve your chances of your application being approved on appeal.

You Will Likely Receive Your First Check Within 14 Days of Approval

Whether your initial application was approved, or your application was denied but your appeal was approved, you can expect to receive your first check around 14 days after approval. Afterward, you will continue receiving checks every two weeks until you are cleared to return to work.

You will receive your payments via one of three methods:

  • Electronic funds transfer (EFT)—This method allows the BWC to directly deposit your checks into your personal bank account.
  • Electronic benefits transfer (EBT)—This method allows the BWC to load your payments onto a BWC-issued debit card.
  • Paper check—The BWC mails all first payments as checks to workers’ compensation recipients. After receiving your first paper check, you can opt to receive EFT or EBT deposits.

Is There Any Way to Get My Checks Sooner?

The best way to expedite the workers’ compensation application process and get your benefits checks faster is to get an experienced law firm on your side. The BWC has a strict process for reviewing applications, and any discrepancies, errors, or missing information and forms can result in delays or denials.

Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers know how to build claims according to the BWC’s exact requirements, which means less chance of having to send more information, clear up a miscommunication, or appeal a denial. The faster the BWC reviews and approves your claim, the sooner you get the checks you and your loved ones need.

Trust Our Experienced Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we know that injured workers like you need benefits after on-the-job injuries, and they need them fast. When you contact us, we’ll work hard and smart to ensure your application isn’t just completed quickly, but that it’s also completed fully and accurately.

You’ve already suffered enough due to your work injury. You shouldn’t have to suffer waiting for weeks or months to find out if or when you’re getting workers’ compensation benefits. Contact us today—we want to help you get full benefits ASAP.

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