Workers’ Compensation: Understanding Schedule Loss of Use Awards


If you have suffered a permanent injury while on the job, you may be entitled to compensation in the form of a Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) award. This award provides cash benefits for the loss of wage-earning capacity resulting from a permanent functional impairment of a body part due to a work-related injury. Let’s explore the key aspects of SLU awards and determine if you are eligible to receive one.

Workers' Compensation

What is a Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) award?

A Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) award is a cash benefit that compensates you for the loss of wage-earning capacity resulting from a permanent functional impairment of a body part caused by an on-the-job injury. The award is determined by the Workers’ Compensation Board, taking into account the Workers’ Compensation law and the current Permanent Impairment Guidelines.

An SLU award can be granted for injuries to various body parts, including the arm, hand, fingers, leg, foot, eyesight, hearing, and disfigurement.

Who is eligible for an SLU award?

To be eligible for an SLU award, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • You have achieved the maximum possible recovery from your injury.
  • Your healthcare provider has submitted a medical report that adheres to the current Permanent Impairment Guidelines, confirming your reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI).
  • You have a permanent loss of function in the injured body part due to your work-related injury.
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Permanent loss of function can result from damage to bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and other tissues.

Determining Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

To determine if you have reached MMI, consult your healthcare provider who will assess your progress and examine the injured body part. Once your healthcare provider confirms MMI, they will submit a medical report to the Workers’ Compensation Board, including the percentage of functional use permanently lost in the injured body part. This percentage also represents the Schedule Loss of Use (SLU).

Adjudication of SLU Percentage

If the insurer agrees with your healthcare provider’s SLU percentage, that percentage will be used to calculate the number of weeks of benefits and the corresponding payment you will receive.

In the case of disagreement, the insurer may request an opinion from its consultant or an independent medical examiner (IME). The Board will consider the medical reports from both your healthcare provider and the IME to determine the SLU percentage. This percentage will then be used to calculate the duration of benefits and the payment amount.

How is the SLU award amount determined?

The amount of an SLU award is determined by the Workers’ Compensation Law, which provides a schedule specifying the maximum number of weeks of benefits based on the permanently injured body part. The schedule includes the following body parts and their corresponding maximum weeks of compensation:

  • Arm: 312 weeks
  • Leg: 288 weeks
  • Hand: 244 weeks
  • Foot: 205 weeks
  • Eye: 160 weeks
  • Thumb: 75 weeks
  • Fingers: varies based on the finger
  • Big Toe: 38 weeks
  • Other Toes: 16 weeks
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Your SLU award calculation takes into account three factors:

  1. The injured body part
  2. The percentage of loss of function determined by the judge
  3. Your average weekly wage (AWW)

Your average weekly wage is based on your total gross earnings for the 52 weeks before the date of injury, including overtime and other compensation.

Let’s take an example: Suppose you have suffered a work-related arm injury resulting in a 25% loss of arm function. Your average weekly wage is $900. Based on these factors, your SLU award calculation would be as follows:

  • Maximum Weeks Allowed for SLU Benefits: 312 weeks
  • Percentage of Loss of Use: 25%
  • Duration of Weekly SLU Benefits: 78 weeks (312 weeks x 25%)
  • Average Weekly Wage: $900
  • Weekly SLU Benefit: $600 (AWW x 2/3)
  • Total Amount of SLU Award: $46,800 (78 weeks x $600)

Please note that any prior payments of temporary benefits will be deducted from the total SLU award amount.

Payment of SLU Awards

If you have already received temporary benefits, they will be deducted from your SLU award. Furthermore, any wages paid to you by your employer while you were out of work may also be deducted. The remaining amount of your SLU award will be paid through regular workers’ compensation checks until it is fully paid.

Alternatively, you can opt to receive a lump sum payment for your SLU award. If the decision is made at a hearing, you can request a lump sum payment at that time or write to the Board to make the request. Upon receiving your request, the Board will direct the insurer to issue you a check for the lump sum.

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If you have any questions or need assistance with your Schedule Loss of Use claim, you can contact the Board at (877) 632-4996. When reaching out, please have the following information ready:

  • Your name and WCB case number
  • Telephone number (including area code)
  • Brief description of the issue
  • Any relevant documents or letters received


Understanding Schedule Loss of Use awards is crucial if you have suffered a permanent injury in the workplace. By meeting the eligibility requirements and following the correct procedures, you can receive the compensation you deserve. Remember, consulting with your healthcare provider and seeking guidance from the Workers’ Compensation Board will ensure a smooth and fair process.

Workers' Compensation