One of the most underutilized benefits available to injured workers is loss of earning power (LEP) benefits. If you return to lighter duty work with doctor restrictions and are paid less than your date of injury wages, you may be entitled to LEP.
LEP calculations are either 1) 80 percent of the difference between your date of injury wages and current wages or 2) 1 minus the percentage of your current reduced wages to your date of injury wages times your current time loss rate. The higher of the two calculations is paid.
Like time loss compensation, your doctor must certify your entitlement to LEP benefits. The benefits are payable on a claim until “legal fixity,” which means the date that the claim is closed. No benefits are payable after claim closure.
Do You Qualify for LEP
LEP is payable even if you are unable to find or cannot perform a lighter duty job. However, if you can’t provide a pay stub, the Department or self-insured employer denies LEP. If the Department denies LEP benefits, an appeal to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals is sometimes your only recourse. With the assistance of a qualified workers’ compensation attorney, the lower wages you would have earned can be determined, LEP calculated, and payment secured.
If your light duty work comes to an end while your claim is still open, you are entitled to time loss compensation.