Supplemental Income Benefits
To get supplemental income benefits, or SIBS, you must have a 15% whole body impairment rating or higher. That normally requires multiple body parts injured, since the body part impairments are added together. Injuries to that extent often occur from one of two types of accidents: falls at work and on the job car wrecks. The other injuries which comprise most of the 15% or higher impairments are bad neck injuries resulting in nerve damage, burns, and brain injuries resulting in a significant loss of brain function. These are just the most common examples.
Insurance companies generally dispute impairment ratings of 15% or higher, and will fight you tooth and nail. If that happens, you should call Allison & Ward.
Why do insurance companies hate these higher ratings? It’s not because they have to pay three more weeks of TIBS for each additional 1% of impairment. Rather it is because getting a 15% or higher impairment rating means you might qualify for SIBS, which can last 401 weeks from your date of injury—a little over 7 1/2 years. This is why insurance companies fight to keep your impairment rating below 15%, and why we fight to get 15% or higher.
The basics on SIBS
SIBS benefits are reviewed and paid monthly on a quarterly (3 month) basis. Your medical treatment, work ability and other factors are examined, beginning 3 months and two weeks before your IIBS end—that’s what is known as your first quarter “qualifying period”. That same first quarter (plus 2 weeks) then becomes the “qualifying period” for your second quarter, and so on.
How do you get SIBS?
If you have a 15% or higher impairment rating, how do you get SIBS?
1) You have absolutely no ability to work at any job—not just the job where you sustained the injury. These are very hard (but not impossible) cases to prove. This situation requires a detailed report from your doctor, explaining why you cannot do any type of work. There can be NO medical evidence that you have ANY ability to return to work. It’s pretty easy for insurance companies and their paid-for doctors to produce some evidence showing you can do something; no-work SIBS cases are hard to win. But we’ve won them. If you are in such a situation, please call the SIBS attorneys at Allison & Ward.
2) You have gone back to work somewhere, but you are earning less than 80% of your pre-injury average weekly wage as a direct result of your injury. These situations are much easier to prove SIBS entitlement. In such cases, SIBS supplements your income to make up a portion of your lost earnings.
3) You are actively looking for work—which entails applying for at least the number of jobs required by your county to get unemployment benefits—but can’t find a job because of your injury. This is a grueling way to get SIBS, but that’s the law.
4) You are working with the state agency in charge of retraining folks who can’t go back to their old jobs. That agency is called the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, or DARS. You complete an Individual plan of Education (IPE), which is created by you and your DARS counselor. The IPE trains you for a new career and you graduate with more career options than before. This is the best way to get SIBS. If you have any questions about SIBS, please contact us.