How much should family members get paid for attendant care under workers’ compensation in Michigan?
Our experience is that insurance companies are notoriously cheap. They do not educate claimants about workers’ compensation benefits and hope to save a few bucks at their expense. It is not until a lawyer gets involved that people realize what they have been missing. Attendant care is a perfect example of a benefit that is paid incorrectly or not at all.
Attendant care pays family members to help disabled employees with activities of daily living. Examples include wound care, assistance with mobility, bathing, using the bathroom, eating, dressing, and taking medications. It is even possible to get family members paid for on-call time.
Family members can seek up to 56 hours per week for providing attendant care. This includes spouses, brothers, sisters, children, parents or any combination of these individuals. A professional can also be hired if 24/7 care is needed or a family member needs a break. It is common for the insurance company to require a prescription for attendant before making payment.
Insurance companies are supposed to pay market rates for attendant care. This is the same hourly rate that a professional would charge for the same services. Unfortunately, we see insurance companies pay far less than is required under Michigan law. Some callers to our office are even receiving less than minimum wage.
Minimum wage increased to $9.45 per hour starting March 29, 2019. Minimum wage is the lowest amount that any claimant should accept from the insurance company for attendant care. It is important to ask for a raise if warranted.
Family members often perform tasks that a professional would charge a much higher hourly rate. Challenge insurance company payments if they are insufficient for the tasks that are being performed. The United States Department of Labor keeps wage information by occupation and geographical area that can be used as a reference.
We tell our clients to keep a journal of any care provided by family members. Write down the date, time, and activity on a piece of paper. This information should be sent to the insurance company by certified mail. Penalties can be sought if not timely paid.
Insurance companies do not always tell claimants about attendant care because of the potential high cost it brings. It can add a huge amount of money to a claim. It also impacts settlement value through increased exposure. For example, a claimant who earns $12 per hour working full time is only entitled to $305.34 per week in lost wages. Attendant care paid to a family member at minimum wage (maximum 56 hours) equals an extra $529.20 per week.
Do not wait to speak with an experienced attorney about a potential attendant care claim. Michigan law limits recovery under a one and two year back rule. Waiting too long could mean losing out on unpaid benefits forever.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 316-8033 for a free consultation today.