State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, Stephen M. Morelli, Chairman
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Sec. 31-307

Workers’ Compensation Act as amended to January 1, 2017

Compensation for total incapacity.


Sec. 31-307. Compensation for total incapacity. (a) If any injury for which compensation is provided under the provisions of this chapter results in total incapacity to work, the injured employee shall be paid a weekly compensation equal to seventy-five per cent of the injured employee’s average weekly earnings as of the date of the injury, calculated pursuant to section 31-310, after such earnings have been reduced by any deduction for federal or state taxes, or both, and for the federal Insurance Contributions Act made from such employee’s total wages received during the period of calculation of the employee’s average weekly wage pursuant to section 31-310; but the compensation shall not be more than the maximum weekly benefit rate set forth in section 31-309 for the year in which the injury occurred. No employee entitled to compensation under this section shall receive less than twenty per cent of the maximum weekly compensation rate, as provided in section 31-309, provided the minimum payment shall not exceed seventy-five per cent of the employee’s average weekly wage, as determined under section 31-310, and the compensation shall not continue longer than the period of total incapacity.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, any employee who suffers any injury or illness caused by the employer’s violation of any health or safety regulation adopted pursuant to chapter 571 or adopted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and listed in 29 CFR, Chapter XVII, after the violation has been cited in accordance with the provisions of section 31-375 or the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 84 Stat. 1601 (1970), 29 USC 658 and not abated within the time fixed by the citation, provided the citation has not been set aside by appeal to the appropriate agency or court having jurisdiction, shall receive a weekly compensation equal to one hundred per cent of the employee’s average weekly earnings at the time of the injury or illness.

(c) The following injuries of any person shall be considered as causing total incapacity and compensation shall be paid accordingly: (1) Total and permanent loss of sight of both eyes, or the reduction to one-tenth or less of normal vision; (2) the loss of both feet at or above the ankle; (3) the loss of both hands at or above the wrist; (4) the loss of one foot at or above the ankle and one hand at or above the wrist; (5) any injury resulting in permanent and complete paralysis of the legs or arms or of one leg and one arm; (6) any injury resulting in incurable imbecility or mental illness.

(d) An employee who has suffered the loss or loss of the use of one of the members of the body, or part of one of the members of the body, or the reduction of vision in one eye to one-tenth or less of normal vision, shall not receive compensation for the later injury in excess of the compensation allowed for the injury when considered by itself and not in conjunction with the previous incapacity except as provided in this chapter.

(1949 Rev., S. 7430; 1949, 1951, 1953, S. 3043d; 1957, P.A. 463, S. 2; 1958 Rev., S. 31-161; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 30; 1967, P.A. 842, S. 14; P.A. 78-360, S. 1; P.A. 80-124, S. 3; P.A. 82-455; P.A. 90-272, S. 1, 2; P.A. 91-32, S. 23, 41; 91-339, S. 26; P.A. 93-228, S. 16, 35; P.A. 06-84, S. 1.)

History: 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; 1967 act increased compensation rate from 60% to 66.66% of average weekly earnings at time of injury and deleted references to normal vision “with glasses”; P.A. 78-360 authorized compensation at 75% rate where injury or illness caused by employer’s violation of health or safety regulation has been cited and he has subsequently failed to abate violation; P.A. 80-124 specified that time of injury is date of incapacity to work as a result of disease in cases involving occupational diseases; P.A. 82-455 changed the minimum weekly benefit from $20 to 20% of the maximum weekly compensation rate, provided the minimum does not exceed 80% of the employee’s average weekly wage; P.A. 90-272 increased the weekly compensation from 75% of the employee’s weekly earnings to 100% for injury or illness caused by his employer’s OSHA violations; P.A. 91-32 divided the existing section into Subsecs. (a) to (d), inclusive, and made technical changes; P.A. 91-339 changed the weekly compensation allowed in Subsec. (a) from 66.6% of average weekly earnings to 80% of average weekly earnings reduced by deductions for federal taxes and FICA; P.A. 93-228 amended Subsec. (a) to decrease weekly compensation allowed for total incapacity from 80% to 75% of injured employee’s average weekly earnings, to require that state taxes be deducted in calculating such earnings, and to decrease maximum compensation allowed for minimum payment from 80% to 75% of employee’s average weekly wage, and added Subsec. (e) to require that compensation for total incapacity be offset by Social Security retirement benefits, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 06-84 made technical changes in Subsecs. (a), (b) and (d) and deleted former Subsec. (e) re offset of amount of old age insurance benefits employee entitled to receive under Social Security Act against total incapacity workers’ compensation payments, effective May 30, 2006.

If a one-eyed man lost his eye, he was entitled to compensation for total incapacity. 95 C. 354. Where plaintiff’s labor is unmarketable, may substitute total incapacity. 110 C. 282. Cited. 112 C. 132; Id., 629. Compensation limited to 520 weeks including specific loss. 113 C. 707. Cited. 123 C. 194; Id., 513; 125 C. 564; 126 C. 495. Disability followed by specific indemnity and subsequent disability traceable to original injury, final disability compensable. 127 C. 294. Whether paid specific or total or partial compensation, discretionary with commissioner. 129 C. 591. Not in conjunction with previous incapacity. 130 C. 401. “Total incapacity to work” means not the employee’s inability to work at his customary calling, but the destruction of his capacity to earn in that or any other occupation which he can reasonably pursue; if, though he can work, his physical condition is such that no one will employ him, he is just as much totally incapacitated as though he could not work at all. 135 C. 498. Where plaintiff has equal earning capacity in other work, but there is no other work because of business conditions, he is not totally incapacitated. 136 C. 514. Does not apply to partial incapacity. 137 C. 235. If, because of employee’s injury, his labor becomes unmarketable, he is totally incapacitated. Id., 454. Since 1946 accident was an equal, concurrent and contributing cause of plaintiff’s disability by reason of which compensation was paid in 1950, the award was properly predicated on statutory rate payable in 1950 rather than lower rate of 1946. 139 C. 338. Cited. 196 C. 104; Id., 529; 209 C. 59. Rule against double compensation prohibits concurrent payment of specific indemnity benefits for permanent partial impairment under Sec. 31-308(b) and benefits for total incapacity under this section as result of same incident. 217 C. 42. Cited. Id., 50; 218 C. 9; Id., 531; 219 C. 28. Special benefits under Sec. 5-142(a) are not an obstacle to greater recovery under this section. 220 C. 721. Cited. Id., 739; 221 C. 41; 226 C. 569; 227 C. 261; 231 C. 287. Injured employee’s workers’ compensation benefit rate to be determined in case of traumatic injury by reference to his earnings preceding the date on which he became incapacitated. Id., 529. Cited. 233 C. 14; 237 C. 71; 239 C. 676. Does not permit discontinuance of total disability benefits to incarcerated recipients. 261 C. 181. Benefits under this section are allowed for a subsequent disability if distinct from and due to a condition that is not a normal and immediate incident of the loss for which a claimant received benefits under Sec. 31-308(b). 294 C. 564. A determination that the estate of a deceased employee does not have standing to pursue workers’ compensation benefits does not violate the right to redress guaranteed by article first, section 10 of the Connecticut constitution. 323 C. 26.

Cited. 7 CA 142; 16 CA 660; 25 CA 350; 26 CA 466; 27 CA 483; Id., 699. Benefits are calculated on wages on the date of incapacity to work rather than date of injury. 28 CA 226. Cited. 29 CA 559; 36 CA 298; 45 CA 324. Commissioner did not act improperly in finding plaintiff demonstrated a diminished earning capacity on basis of a 41% permanent partial disability of her master right arm, and, as such, was eligible to receive total incapacity benefits. 105 CA 669. Commissioner improperly considered plaintiff’s refusal of surgery and reasonableness of treatment in making a determination of temporary total disability. 130 CA 672. Great weight is given to compensation review board’s interpretation of Workers’ Compensation Act and its opinion that no specific type of evidence is required for a worker’s compensation commissioner to make a finding of total disability. 140 CA 542.

Cited. 9 CS 375; 38 CS 648. Benefits under Sec. 31-308(d) are payable contemporaneously with those under this statute. 39 CS 449.

Former Subsec. (e):

Is constitutional because legislature’s goal of cost saving was legitimate and the offset is a rational means to achieve that goal. 263 C. 328. Applies whenever Social Security and total disability benefits are concurrent and does not violate equal protection because it does not discriminate against the totally disabled and has a rational basis in legislature’s desire to cut costs. 281 C. 656.

Applies prospectively because it impacts substantive rights. 78 CA 472. Under 1997 revision, defendant is not entitled to a setoff from widow’s benefits awarded under Sec. 31-306. 114 CA 822.


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State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, Stephen M. Morelli, Chairman
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