Yes. Prior to 1993, an injured employee could get an unlimited wage loss differential between what he used to be able to make and what he can currently make post-injury, subject to the commissioner’s discretion. When the comp laws were revised in 1993, this benefit was capped by the total number of weeks for which the injured employee had specific award benefits. Now, if the injured employee receives a 20% permanent partial impairment of his lower back, which translates to 74.8 weeks, an injured employee may seek wage differential up to the total number of weeks he has gotten for his specific award, or in the example above, 74.8 weeks. The claimant must be paid his entire specific before he can request the wage differential benefits from the comp commissioner. These benefits are discretionary benefits, meaning that the claimant must persuade the commissioner that he no longer has the same earning potential that he did prior to the injury, and that this differential was created as a direct result of the injury.
It is helpful in convincing the commissioner that a wage loss exists if the claimant can demonstrate he has attempted to seek other employment within his restrictions.