Temporary Total Disability Benefits
If your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance company accepts your claim as compensable, and after you’ve been advised by your doctor to cease working, New Mexico’s workers’ compensation law provides that you will receive benefits called Total Temporary Disability (TTD). The amount you receive (your workers’ compensation rate) will be 2/3 of what your average earnings were before your accident at work, up to the state of New Mexico’s maximum rate for the year in which you were injured or became disabled. If you worked more than one job or had earnings outside the employment in which you were injured, you can add those earnings together for purposes of establishing your Workers’ Compensation Rate. You will receive TTD until:
- The date your physician either releases you to return to work and such work is offered to you or;
- The date on which you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI is the time when your doctor decides you are fully recovered, or have recovered as much as you are going to recover.
If you are released to return to work before reaching MMI you should immediately go to your employer with the return to work slip and any restrictions the doctor has placed upon your work activities. If your employer does not have work available that meets your restrictions, you are still entitled to TTD. If your employer offers work within your restrictions you must take the work or forfeit your right to TTD. If, when you return to light duty, your wages are less than what you were averaging before you got hurt, the insurance company has to pay 2/3 of the difference between your pre-injury wages and your current wages until you reach MMI. Once you have reached MMI you may be entitled to permanent partial disability.
Workers’ compensation law is extremely complex. The foregoing is far from a comprehensive discussion of temporary total disability, and the unique facts and circumstances of your situation will impact whether and how much you may receive in benefits. For these reasons, it is always advisable to speak with an experienced New Mexico workers’ compensation lawyer about your claim.