How Workers’ Compensation in Illinois Works

People employed in Illinois who are injured while on the job or suffer a job-related illness should know the facts about workers’ compensation.

A single accident on the job, repeated motions necessary to perform a job and ongoing exposure to harmful substances are just some of the things that render some Illinois residents unable to work, at least for some period of time.

When these situations arise, employees need and deserve help including financial assistance when they are unable to perform their jobs and earn their standard wages or salaries. Workers' compensation is the program via which many people can receive such benefits.

Types of Benefits Available

According to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, the program pays out six primary types of benefits to eligible workers. These include the following:

  • Death benefits if a job-related fatality occurs are paid to qualifying survivors.

  • Vocational rehabilitation can be paid to employees undergoing training for new jobs due to a work-related injury or illness.

  • Permanent total disability benefits can be received by people who become completely disabled for life and are unable to work again.

  • Permanent partial disability benefits are paid to people who suffer lifelong disabilities but who are still able to work in some capacity.

  • Temporary total disability benefits are payable to employees who are unable to work for a certain period of time due to a job-related accident or illness.

  • Temporary partial disability benefits can be paid to people who are able to return to work but in a capacity that earns less than their prior capacity.


Social Security notes that temporary total benefits will last for the duration of a disability or until a person returns to work. Temporary partial benefits will compensate for two-thirds of the difference in earnings between original jobs and temporary positions. Permanent total disability can be received for life and is the only benefit type that can be adjusted due to cost of living increases.

Permanent partial benefits include four different classifications and the amount paid for each varies and may even include lump-sum distributions. The Illinois State Bar Association explains that a determination of disability is made in part based upon the American Medical Association's definition of disability. However, the workers' compensation program can take into consideration other factors as well. Things like a person's age, job function and even future earning ability may all go into such a decision.

Filing for Workers' Compensation

When an Illinois employee needs to file a claim for workers' compensation, talking to an attorney can be useful. The processes involved are detailed and making sure everything is properly documented is important.