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How long can I receive California workers' comp benefits?

An on-the-job injury at your Rancho Mirage workplace can bring a wide array of changes to your life. First, of course, you must deal with the pain of the injury and the medical treatment to help you. Then, like it or not, you must focus not on your health but on your finances.

If you're out of work for an extended period, how are you going to pay your bills and take care of your family? California workers' compensation benefits can certainly be a major factor in both matters: your health and your finances.

Your workers' comp benefits are typically going to be calculated at two-thirds of your pre-tax wages. (Fortunately, your benefits are not taxed.) As a general rule, the state's website says, you can receive up to 104 weeks of workers' comp benefits in a five-year period. That period "is counted from the date of your injury," the state says.

Certain injuries and conditions qualify workers for 240 weeks of benefits, including severe burns and chronic lung disease.

However, workers can get benefits beyond the 104-week period if their injuries do not allow them to return to work. You can file a claim for SDI (state disability insurance).

Remember, when we refer to benefits, we are referring to more than pay. You are also entitled to medical treatments, and even transportation costs, prescriptions and costs of physical therapy.

If there are disputes about compensation, the state says one of the ways to resolve those is to speak with a workers' compensation attorney. "(The attorney's) job is to plan a strategy for your case, gather information to support your claim, keep track of deadlines and represent you in hearings before a workers’ compensation judge at your local Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board office," the state says.

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