In Wisconsin, temporary total disability benefits or TTD benefits are payable when an employee is within his or her healing period from a work-related injury and unable to work. There must be a doctor excuse stating the employee cannot work at all due to the injury or has work related restrictions, which the employer cannot accommodate. There is no limit on the time an employee can receive temporary disability benefits, we have seen cases go on for years as a result of successive surgeries and rehabilitation.
If the healing period conditions are met, the injured employee is eligible for TTD benefits even if he or she is unable to work because of an unrelated condition as well. For example, in Brakebush Bros. v. LIRC, 210 Wis. 2d 623 , 563 N.W.2d 512 (1997), the supreme court held that an employee who was terminated for other reasons did not lose eligibility for temporary disability benefits, reasoning the injury, not the termination, was the cause of the wage loss. Inability to work because of incarceration has been held to prohibit TTD. On the other hand, termination for poor performance does not forfeit disability benefits.
By statute, the case law rule of Brakebush has been modified stating that temporary disability benefits may be reduced or suspended if the employee, without reasonable cause, refuses a good-faith offer of employment within the employee’s physical and mental limitations. Wis. Stat. Sec. 102.43(9)(a). Also TTD can be stopped for and employee charged with alleged commission of a crime “substantially related to that employment.” Wis. Stat. Sec. 102.43(9)(b). Finally, TTD may be withheld for job suspension or termination because of an employee’s violation of an employer’s written and regularly enforced drug policy. The drug use must have occurred during the period when the employee was otherwise able to return to restricted work. Wis. Stat. Sec. 102.43(9)(c).
As of March 2, 2016, TTD benefits stop if the employee is suspended or terminated due to certain misconduct or substantial fault as defined in Wis. Stats. Sec. 108.04. Wis. Stats. Sec 102.43 (9)(e).
There is a three day waiting period, but it only applies in cases where the employee is not disabled for seven calendar days. So if a worker were to miss four days, he’d be paid for one. But if he is unavailable for at least seven calendar days, then he is paid for them all. Wis. Stats. Sec. 102.43.
McCormick Law Office workers compensation attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin helps injured workers obtain TTD benefits in appropriate cases, generally where temporary disability benefits are sought in addition to significant PPD or loss of earning capacity benefits.