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Permanent Disability

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Many different classifications of permanent disability are detailed under Worker’s Compensation law. These include Permanent Partial Disability, Permanent Total Disability and Total Industrial Disability.

Permanent Partial Disability means that the worker is disabled for life, but not to the extent that they will never work again. People who are permanently, partially disabled are expected to find a job. They may no longer be entitled to benefits if they do not make an effort to find work or take a job that pays less. There are two kinds of Permanent Partial Disability, schedule loss of use and non-schedule. However, medical benefits will still be available if the former employee is not diligently looking for work. Insurance companies may raise a bit of a stink though if you are receiving weekly cash benefits and “voluntarily” removing yourself from the labor market OR if you are working.

Schedule Loss of Use and employee has permanently lost the full use of an extremity (such as an arm, leg, eyesight, hearing etc.). Compensation is only awarded for a predetermined number of weeks. Any benefits that have already been paid before schedule loss of use benefits are received are deducted from the total SLU award.

Non-Schedule is essentially any permanent partial disability not covered by SLU. It involves permanent organ or bone damage (excluding arms and legs). If the accident occurred BEFORE March 13, 2007, then the claimant is entitled to benefits for as long as they are disabled. If the accident occurred AFTER said date, then the number of weeks in which they may receive benefits depends on just how disabled they are (see table below).

525 weeks for loss of wage earning capacity of greater than 95%
500 weeks for loss of wage earning capacity of greater than 90% thru 95%
475 weeks for loss of wage earning capacity of greater than 85% thru 90%
450 weeks for loss of wage earning capacity of greater than 80% thru 85%
425 weeks for loss of wage earning capacity of greater than 75% thru 80%
400 weeks for loss of wage earning capacity of greater than 70% thru 75%
375 weeks for loss of wage earning capacity of greater than 60% thru 70%
350 weeks for loss of wage earning capacity of greater than 50% thru 60%
300 weeks for loss of wage earning capacity of greater than 40% thru 50%
275 weeks for loss of wage earning capacity of greater than 30% thru 40%
250 weeks for loss of wage earning capacity of greater than 15% thru 30%
225 weeks for loss of wage earning capacity of 15% or less

Permanent Total Disability means there is no limit as to how long a person can receive benefits. This essentially involves finding that the claimant can no longer do useful work and that the injury was solely the result of a work-related injury or occupational disease. They are relieved of the duty to seek employment.

Total Industrial Disability is sometimes awarded when a worker is permanently partially disabled but due to outside factors is unable be employed. They may continue to receive weekly and medical benefits, but must wait until a judge approves an end to their work search duties. 

 

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