How Long Does Workers’ Comp Last?


Laura Schaefer

Workers’ compensation insurance covers employees who suffered a work-related injury or illness. It pays for medical care, lost wages, and any ongoing treatment. When this is your only income, you may wonder, “How long does workers’ comp last?”.

If you’ve qualified for workers’ comp payments, you may be wondering how long these benefits will last. The answer is that it depends on your state.

  1. In some states, workers’ comp payments last until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is when your condition has improved as much as it can with medical care.
  2. In other states, there’s a set time limit on how long you can get payments to cover your missed work (and your lost pay).

The workers’ comp you receive during this time is called temporary total disability (TTD). If you don’t fully recover after reaching maximum medical improvement or if the time limit ends, you may qualify for permanent partial disability benefits (PPD).

How long PPD workers’ comp benefits last depends on the impairment rating your doctor assigns to your injury. There are also state-specific minimums and maximums your attorney should take into account.

It is possible for workers’ comp to last for the rest of your life if you qualify for permanent total disability (PTD). This is only reserved for if your work-related injury prevents you from working any profession, like a spinal cord injury.

Workers’ comp law involves a lot of jargon and deadlines, so it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed. You may need a workers’ comp attorney on your corner as you heal from your injuries. A lawyer specialized in your state can help fight against insurance companies that seek to lower your total settlement. Read on to learn more.

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How Long Workers’ Comp Lasts in Every State

Here are the states where your benefits last until you reach MMI and can return back to work:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Here are the states with more specific limitations:

  • Arkansas and Mississippi workers can stay on benefits for 450 weeks.
  • Georgia, Missouri, and New Jersey get 400 weeks.
  • Florida, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming workers can stay on benefits for 104 weeks.
  • California workers can stay on benefits for up to 104 weeks for most injuries, and up to 240 weeks for severe conditions.
  • Hawaiian workers can stay on benefits until the employer decides they can return to work.
  • Kentucky workers comp benefits last until the employee turns 70 or is four years past their injury.
  • Massachusetts and Oklahoma cap benefits at 156 weeks.
  • Minnesota’s ends at 130.
  • North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia: 500 weeks.
  • Indiana workers receive a maximum of 500 weeks or a total of $390,000.
  • Utah allows for 312 weeks of benefits within 12 years from your injury.

What Can Delay Your Workers’ Comp Benefits?

If the employee and insurer cannot agree on a settlement, the case may go to trial. This could also happen if the insurer denies the claim or the employer fails to notify their insurer that an employee has been injured.

IMPORTANT: To reduce delays to your worker’s comp benefits, speak to an experienced workers’ comp attorney in your state.

What if Your Injuries Were Severe?

With severe injuries, you may be eligible for PPD, which can keep providing you with income and medical benefits. A doctor must assign an impairment rating to your injury, which determines how long your workers’ comp benefits last. Usually you’re paid ⅔ of your wages during this period.

How Can You Extend Workers Comp Benefits?

If you have not healed by the time you were planning to return to work, you may need to extend workers comp benefits. Keep copies of paperwork concerning your workers’ comp claim, including work restrictions, letters from your employer or the insurance company, and completed forms.

If you’ve asked for an extension and been denied, you have the right to appeal the insurance company’s denial.

Can You Negotiate Your Settlements with Your Insurance Company?

There are times when employees can negotiate a settlement with their workers’ compensation insurance company. This would occur instead of drawing benefits for months, years, or even decades. This is legally allowed in most states. To learn how to begin a negotiation, speak to a lawyer in your state.

Temporary vs. Permanent Workers’ Comp Benefits 

Workers’ compensation disability benefits get classified as temporary or permanent:

  1. Temporary workers’ comp benefits run until the limits mentioned above.
  2. If you don’t fully recover from your condition after getting temporary benefits, you may qualify for permanent benefits.

Then, under the “permanent” designation are partial (PPD) or total (PTD) benefits:

  1. PPD provides support to people who can work again but have a permanent disability from their injury.
  2. People who can’t work at all due to their injury can get PTD.

This classification of disability benefits varies from state to state. Your disability benefits are then determined by your healthcare provider.

Find an Attorney to Answer Your Workers’ Comp Questions 

If you’ve read this entire article and still feel confused, that’s understandable. Workers’ comp laws are complicated.

Analyzing a workers’ comp case requires the eyes of a professional who knows your state’s laws. Luckily at LegalASAP, we have an attorney network of 500+ law firms throughout the United States, ready to answer your legal questions.

Our professionals mostly work under contingency, meaning their services are paid-for through your settlement and you pay nothing up-front.

Ready to see if you may qualify?Complete your free online workers’ compensation case evaluation now!

Laura Schaefer

Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at and