A work-related injury can be a stressful and disruptive event. If you have been hurt on the job, on top of recovering from your physical injuries, financial concerns can quickly add to your burdens.

Thankfully, Florida’s workers’ compensation program can help to ease those burdens by providing financial benefits to eligible workers. How long does it actually take to receive those benefits?

Understanding the process: From injury to payment

The duration it takes to receive your first check depends on several factors, and there are key steps involved. The first crucial step is promptly informing your employer about your workplace injury. The Sunshine State mandates reporting the injury within 30 days of its occurrence. The sooner you report, the faster the claim processing can begin.

Once you report your injury, your employer should file a claim with their insurance carrier. The insurance company will then take some time to investigate the claim to determine its validity. This may involve gathering information from your employer and your medical records.

The insurer will then approve or deny your claim based on the investigation. If approved, the insurer will determine the type and amount of benefits you’re eligible for.

The 21-day rule: Receiving your first check

According to state law, you should expect your first check within 21 days after reporting your work-related injury to your employer. This applies to wage benefits, which are a portion of your lost earnings due to the disability. It’s important to note that there might be a waiting period before benefits kick in, but you should receive the check within 21 days, regardless.

Exceptions to the 21-day rule

There are a few exceptions to the 21-day rule. For instance, if the first seven days of your disability fall within a waiting period established by your employer (which cannot exceed seven days), the benefits might start from the eighth day. However, if your disability stretches further than 21 days, you’ll receive benefits retroactively for the entire period of disability, including the initial seven days.

Workers’ compensation is your vital safety net for work-related injuries. While state law guarantees receiving your first check within 21 days, the overall timeframe for receiving benefits can vary depending on individual circumstances. When you understand the process and seek legal assistance, you can navigate the system more effectively and help ensure a smoother flow of benefits during your recovery.