No one hopes for mishaps at work, but accidents do happen on the job. Sometimes, this can change the course of a person’s life forever. In some cases, the worker may be eligible to receive a Schedule Loss-of-Use award (SLU). If you are wondering how the Workers’ Compensation Board of New York State pays this money, read on!
What is Schedule Loss-Of-Use?
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), more than 2.3 million workers die every year because of occupational accidents or work-related diseases. The Schedule Loss-of-Use is an amount of money given to workers who have suffered a permanent loss of function of a body part due to an on-the-job injury and therefore cannot maximize their earning potential. Work accidents may permanently damage any part of the body and ultimately any of the six senses. They may also lead to debilitating cosmetic problems. Injuries sustained to any of the following body parts may qualify for the award of Schedule Loss-of-Use:
- Upper limbs – This includes your fingers, wrist, forearm, arm and elbow, and shoulder.
- Lower limbs – This will include your toes, ankles, legs, knees, thighs, and hips.
- Ears – This injury impedes hearing.
- Eyes – This includes injuries that permanently damage your eyesight.
- Face, scalp, and neck – These injuries may distort your physical appearance and may lead to scarring. The affected worker may even require cosmetic intervention.
Why is this important? All body parts are not considered equal in this regard. Some parts carry more weight than others literally and figuratively.
What makes you eligible?
Eligibility for the award of an SLU for a worker’s injury is determined by certain criteria.
- When a worker gets into an accident, medical attention is usually sought.
- It should be established that you have reached the peak recovery status for the injury.
- Your doctor should hand in a report that you have reached the maximum medical improvement (MMI).
- The attendant loss of function must be permanent.
How is Schedule Loss of Use Calculated in New York State?
The SLU awarded is not a fixed amount but depends on some factors. The Workers’ Compensation Law is fully applied in deciding how much an injured worker gets.
Of course, this is largely dependent on how many weeks of compensation they will be getting. Three variables matter directly in this calculation:
- Average weekly wages
- NYS Schedule loss of use percentage
- The part of the body affected.
For paired body parts, the degree of functional loss is determined by comparison. The range of motion of the affected side is compared with that on the uninjured side.
- The actual SLU you are given = Total SLU calculated, minus any monetary compensation previously
- Total SLU= The number of weeks you’ll get multiplied by Weekly SLU.
- The number of weeks you’ll get = Highest number of weeks possible for the body part multiplied by loss of use percentage.
- Weekly SLU= Average weekly wage times 2/3
- The loss of use percentage is calculated by your doctor.
- The average weekly wage (AWW) is calculated by the sum of your gross pay for 52 weeks before injury, divided by 52.
Let’s look at an example:
A factory worker gets her right second finger injured by the machine. Her average weekly pay is $600. Her doctor has reported a loss of use percentage of 20%. She had previously received $400 in compensation. Let’s do the math.
- For the second finger, the highest number of weeks you can be compensated for is 30
- Given her loss of use %, she is entitled to a total of 30 x 20% = 6 weeks
- Her weekly SLU entitlement is $600 x 2/3= $400
- Gross amount of SLU is 6 X $400= $2,400
- Actual amount she’ll get = Gross SLU – Previous compensation.
- Total benefits would be $2,400 – $400= $2000
Accidents happen, and you could be eligible to receive a Schedule Loss-of-Use award. You get either all of your SLU at once or in parts at regular intervals. The factory worker we described above can go home with $2,000 or get it in parts. For more information on Schedule Loss-of-Use awards, contact us to see how EMD Law can get you the benefits your deserve.