What is a closed period in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation?

Injured workers sometimes here attorneys at workers’ compensation hearings talking about a ‘closed period’? What exactly does a ‘closed period’ mean in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation?
This concept of a ‘closed period’ is quite simple in workers’ compensation.

When are you eligible for wage loss benefits?

When you are out of work due to a work-related injury, you may be eligible for wage loss benefits, otherwise known as temporary total disability benefits. What does out of work mean? It means you are unable to work due to the work-related injury and your treating doctor has you totally disabled from work. Additionally, you may be eligible for wage loss benefits if your doctor has provided you light duty work restrictions, which you provided to your employer, and your employer either does not have light duty or refuses to accommodate your work restrictions. Finally, you may be eligible for partial disability benefits if you return to work under work restrictions and make less than your average weekly wage.

So, what is a ‘closed period’ of disability?

A ‘closed period’ of disability is when the wage loss period is defined. In other words, you were out for a period of time due to the work-related injury, but have returned to work either full or light duty at no loss of wages. This all assumes you were not paid any wage loss benefits while you were out of work. By way of example, let’s assume you were injured at work on March 1. 2023 and due to the injury you were out of work completely. Subsequently, you returned to work on July 1, 2023 in light duty and your employer did accommodate and brought you back at no wage loss. Since you returned to work, your wage loss period is closed. You are due wage loss benefits from March 1, 2023 to July 1, 2023, when you returned to work. That is a defined ‘closed period’ of disability.

Now, that is not to say it remains closed. I have had injured workers return to work and then have to go back out of work due to increased symptoms, pain, surgery, or the employer eventually refuses to accommodate any longer. That reopens the closed period of disability. Additionally, just because you return to work and have a defined closed period does not mean that medical treatment ends. It does not end until you are fully recovered, either by your admission or your benefits are terminated by a Workers’ Compensation Judge. I have many injured workers who return to work in light duty and the medical treatment continues to be covered.

If you have been injured at work, if your work injury was denied, if you are due wage loss benefits, if you have unpaid medical bills, or medical treatment is being denied, get yourself protected. Mooney Law offers absolutely free consultations for injured workers. We have obtained tens of millions of dollars for injured workers throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland. We can help.  Call to schedule a FREE consultation at 833-MOONEYLAW or 717-200-HELP.  You can also visit our website and complete the Schedule a Consultation form.

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.