What is a Permanent Disability in Worker’s Comp?

Workers’ compensation refers to a type of insurance designed to protect their rights and cover them in case of any accident that injures them, or leaves them disabled. This also includes permanent disability, and there are several factors that influence the entire process, including the timeframe and benefits that workers are entitled to.

It is important to know that workers may have to go through an entire legal and medical process before they can receive the compensation they are owed, and these things can take a lot of time. This article covers everything you need to know about permanent disability in worker’s comp.

What Constitutes a Permanent Disability in Worker’s Comp?

A permanent disability is when you suffer from an illness or work-related injury, and you are unable to fully recover from the condition, even though the recommended recovery time period has passed. Permanent disability is often discovered or identified when the doctor examines the worker after the time period has passed and they still complain of experiencing the symptoms associated with the illness or injury.

When it comes to permanent disability with regards to worker’s comp, it refers to a clause that entitles workers to be paid for their inability to earn money for a long period of time. It is different from temporary disability, which hinders workers from working for a shorter period of time. Permanent disability is gauged as a percentage of the worker’s ability to perform the tasks related to their job, and the percentage ranges from 0 to 100.

If a worker qualifies for permanent disability benefits, they receive bi-weekly payments, paid up to the amount determined or agreed upon.

Types of Permanent Disability

There are a few different types of permanent disability that a worker can qualify for, and they also differ in the benefits. Moreover, these types are determined according to the permanent disability percentage.

Permanent Partial Disability

A permanent partial disability is determined when the worker has a disability rating below 100%, and partially disabled workers are entitled to a certain amount paid weekly. However, the higher the rating is, the more the number of weeks for which the worker is paid. Therefore, if the rating is higher, the more money is paid to the worker.

Permanent Total Disability

As you can guess, a permanent total disability applies to a worker who has achieved a 100% permanent disability rating. This makes the worker entitled to weekly payments that are set according to the temporary disability rate, and these payments continue for the rest of the worker’s life.

Life Pension

If the worker disability rating lies between 70% and 99%, the worker may also be entitled to a life pension, which begins once the worker has received all of their weekly payments. This allows them to receive a compensation for the rest of their lives due to their higher level of disability.

How is Permanent Disability Calculated?

Since worker’s comp changes from state to state, the calculation formula for permanent disability also differs. The general formula involves the permanent disability rating, along with a dollar value, and this figure is spread out over a certain number of weeks.

The calculation of permanent disability depends on the medical condition report, which is generated by the medical evaluator. The other factors include the date of injury and the worker’s age, occupation, level of disability caused by the job, and the reduced capacity of earning in the future. Once the percentage is determined that number then correlates to a certain dollar value established by law.

For instance, if a worker has a permanent disability of 10%, their permanent disability rate is $300, and they get four weeks of payments for each percentage point, this means that they will get 40 weekly payments and a total amount of $12,000.

Once all the calculations are made, the worker will have to wait until they move from temporary disability to permanent disability, because that is when the payments start. The law is in place to protect workers with several job types to be able to receive a stable income, especially if they have a life-threatening injury that impairs their ability to continue working.

If you, or someone you know, is injured and wants to apply for permanent disability benefits, the first step is to be treated by a doctor that would evaluate their case fairly.