Workers’ Compensation Acronyms

California’s workers’ compensation program uses a variety of acronyms throughout its documentation. As such, understanding this documentation can often be challenging to a recently injured worker. For this reason, we created a list of commonly used acronyms (with their meanings) to assist those who are moving through the workers’ compensation program in California.

AMA – American Medical Association

This association publishes the “Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment,” which is used to determine an injured worker’s impairment level.

AME – Agreed Medical Evaluator

When an injured employee (and his/her attorney) agree with the workers compensation insurance company (and their attorney) on a physician who will perform a medical exam to help resolve the the injured workers workers’ compensation case and then address all outstanding issues in the case.

AOE/COE – Arising Out of and Happening During the Course of Employment

The injury(ies) an employee is seeking workers’ compensation coverage for must have happened while working or been caused by their job. Often there is a dispute as to whether the injury suffered by the employee occured AOE/COE.

AWW – Average Weekly Wage

An injured employee’s average weekly wage is used to calculated the amount of temporary disability benefits.

C&R – Compromise and Release

A settlement which provides the injured employee with a lump sum payment. Once this settlement is accepted, the injured employee is responsible for all their future medical care.

CT – Cumulative Injury/Continuing Trauma Injury

Refers to an injury that was sustained due to repeated exposures or repeated events at the workplace.

DEPO – Deposition

DOI – Date of Injury

DOL – Date of Loss

DR or DOR – Declaration of Readiness

This form is used when the injured employee (or their attorney if represented) files a request for a hearing in front of a workers’ compensation administrative law judge.

DX – Diagnosis

EE – Employee

ER – Employer

F&A – Findings and Award

This is a written decision handed down from a workers’ compensation administrative law judge. This decision typically includes the future care and payments the injured employee will receive. Unless the F&A is appealed, this ruling becomes the final order on the case.

FEC – Future Earning Capacity

A multiplier increasing the injured employee’s disability rating that is determined by how much wage the injured employee will lose. This determination is made by comparing the employee’s injury(ies) to other kinds of injuries.

FCE – Functional Capacity Evaluation

IMR – Independent Medical Review

MMI – Maximum Medical Improvement

The injured employee’s condition is not expected to change (even with medical treatment). Once the employee reaches MMI, a physician can determine whether a permanent disability resulted from the injury they sustained during or because of their job.

MSC – Mandatory Settlement Conference

This conference is required and is used to discuss the possibility of resolving the workers’ compensation case before the case will be set for trial.

MOD – Modified Work Duties

NCM – Nurse Case Manager

OT – Occupational Therapy

OTC – Over the Counter (Medications)

QME – Panel Qualified Medical Evaluator

Injured employees who do not have an attorney are provided with three independent QME’s. The worker chooses one of these physicians to perform their evaluation.

P&S – Permanent and Stationary

The injured worker’s condition is not expected to improve. Once this point is reached, a physician assesses the extent of the employee’s permanent impairment resulting from their work injury(ies) or illness (if any). P&S means essentially the same thing as MMI, explained above.

PD – Permanent Disability

A lasting disability resulting in a decrease in earning capacity once MMI has been reached.

PDR – Permanent Disability Rating

A percentage estimating the injured employee’s limit on the work he/she can do.

PD Benefits – Permanent Disability Benefits

Payments the injured worker receives when the injury(ies)/illness sustained permanently limit the employee’s earning capacity or places limitations on the type of work the employee can perform.

PDA – Permanent Disability Advance

Payment provided in a lump sum to assist the injured/ill employee during a time of hardship while working through the California workers’ compensation system. This is a voluntary payment that will be subtracted from a future workers’ compensation settlement in California.

PPD – Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

Payments an injured employee receives when the injury sustained places limits on the type of work an employee can perform or limits their earning capacity.

PTD – Permanent Total Disability Benefits

Payments that a worker receives when they are deemed permanently impaired to the point that they are unable to earn a living.

PTP – Primary Treating Physician

The physician who is responsible for providing the treatment for an injured employee. This physician will write medical reports, which may affect the worker’s benefits. This physician may also be referred to as the treating doctor.

ROM – Range of Motion

RTW – Return to Work

SJDB Voucher – Supplemental Job Displacement Non-Transferable Voucher

A $6,00 voucher for injuries occurring on or after 1/1/2013 for education-related retraining and/or skill enhancement. It can be used for education, counseling and/or training services. The voucher can be used at a California public school or to a state-certified provider on the Eligible Training Provider List.

S&W – Serious and Willful Misconduct

This petition can be filed if the employee became injured due to an employer’s misconduct.

SDI – State Disability Insurance

A wage-replacement insurance plan for California workers. This plan provides a partial-wage replacement to workers who sustain injuries or become ill due to an event that occurred outside of their place of employment. This plan also covers disabling conditions that are related to pregnancy and/or childbirth.

While this insurance is not specifically designed for injured employees, if workers’ compensation is denied or delayed, an injured employee can apply for SDI.

Stips – Stipulations with Request for Award

This settlement is reached when all parties are in agreement on terms set forth in the award. A Stips may include continued medical treatment for the injuries/condition related to the employee’s job. This type of settlement payment takes place over time, as opposed to a lump sum.

TPD – Temporary Partial Disability Benefits

These payments are provided to injured employees who can work as they recover. However, the employee earns less than they did before they sustained the injury(ies).

TTD – Temporary Total Disability Benefits

Payments the injured employee receives if they are unable to work as they recover from the injury(ies) they sustained due to their employment. TTD benefits are two-thirds of an injured workers average weekly wage.

UEF – Uninsured Employers Fund

An employer who neglects to purchase workers’ compensation insurance in California is breaking the law; however, it does happen. This fund is run by the DWC and is used to assist an injured/ill worker when an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance.

VR – Vocational Rehabilitation

This workers’ compensation benefit is available to employees who sustained their injury(ies) before 2004. Employees who are eligible are unable to perform their typical job and their employer neglected to offer them another position.

VRMA – Vocational Rehabilitation Maintenance Allowance

Payments provided to an injured employee to assist them with their living expenses as they are participating in a vocational rehabilitation program.

VRTD – Vocational Rehabilitation Temporary Disability

Refers to temporary disability payments during the VR process.

WC – Workers’ Compensation

WCAB – Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board

Initially, disagreements related to workers’ compensation benefits are heard by a workers’ compensation judge. However, the WCAB Reconsideration Unit hears the appeals of the decisions made by the local workers’ compensation judges.


If you sustained an injury due to an incident at work, or if you have a cumulative injury, we can help. At Appel Law Firm LLP, we have experienced California workers’ compensation attorneys who know these laws inside and out. If you live in or around Contra Costa County California, let us help you attain the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation through our online form or call us at 925-938-2000.

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