How are my OCSLA disability benefits calculated?
If you’re a maritime employee who works offshore, two different laws cover you in the event of accidental injuries. Longshoremen and harbor workers are protected by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)—as long as their injuries occur in or near navigable waters.
Oil rig and offshore workers whose injuries occur within nine miles of the Gulf Coast of Florida and Texas receive coverage under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). OCSLA was added to federal laws to ensure adequate injury coverage for workers who fall outside the LHWCA’s “navigable waters” limitations. Therefore, those injured while developing natural resources within the outer continental shelf are now protected, despite not being classified as seamen or working within navigable waters.
Calculating Your OCSLA Benefit Amount
The total amount of your bi-weekly OCSLA benefit depends on the circumstances surrounding your disability—specifically, the extent of your injuries. In essence, the more tragic the injuries, the more benefits you’ll receive. There are four separate injury classifications used to grade your injury’s severity and your benefit level. These categories explore the potential recovery time of your injuries, as well as the duration of your disability. Lesser injuries with faster recovery times will receive less compensation than more severe injuries that require long-term treatment.
Temporary partial disability
Although you may not be able to do your regular job while injured, temporary partial disability implies that you may still be able to do lesser duties until you have healed. Benefit assessment. In these cases, your benefits are two-thirds of your lost earning capacity, which is the difference between your average weekly wage and your current earning capacity. You’ll receive these benefits as long as it takes for you to recover from your injuries.
Temporary total disability
Temporary total disability implies that your injuries are so severe that you’re unable to perform any work duties in your current state. Benefit assessment. Since you can’t work at all, you’ll receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage until you’re ready to go back to work.
Permanent partial disability
You will not be able to do your regular job anymore, but you may be able to do another type of work. Benefit assessment. Your benefits are two-thirds of your lost earning capacity, which is the difference between your average weekly wage and your current earning capacity. You will receive these benefits as long as you’re disabled.
Permanent total disability
You are completely unable to work for the foreseeable future, possibly forever. Benefit assessment. You’ll receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage, and your benefits will be paid to you as long as you are disabled.
Moving Forward With Maritime Injury Compensation
Understanding the LHWCA and OCSLA can be complicated when you’re sick or injured. Furthermore, you shouldn’t have to worry about how you’ll pay bills when you’re focusing on your recovery. Unfortunately, someone has to ensure that your rights are upheld and your benefits are calculated correctly.
If you suspect that you’re being shortchanged in the benefits you receive or you have any questions, call experienced maritime attorney Steve Lee for a FREE consultation. With over 35 years’ worth of experience, he’s ready to help you ride the waves and take back control of your future. Call us today at 1-800-232-3711 to get started.