Permanent Disability Benefits from a Work Injury
Permanent disability is a workers’ compensation benefit offer to injured workers who are unable to make a full recovery. When additional medical treatment is determined not to be beneficial, workers will be assigned a disability rating for their injured body part that will have a direct impact on the level of benefits that can be received. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand permanent disability benefits.
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Determining Permanent Disability Benefit Levels
When your initial disability ratings are determined, they are put through a pre-determined formula to determine your WPI. After the WPI is calculated, it is further adjusted for numerous factors. After those adjustments, you finally have your permanent disability rating, which will be a number from 0 percent to 100 percent. Your permanent disability rating will determine how long you are entitled to receive benefits, with each rating point extending the time you can collect permanent disability benefits by several weeks.
Benefit rates are 2/3 of your average weekly earnings (AWE), but have a minimum of rate of $160 and maximum of $290 per week in 2020. Be aware though that this is a drastically lower maximum than temporary disability benefits. Injured workers rated between 70 percent and 99 percent disabled are eligible for a lifetime pension upon the expiration of their permanent disability benefits. Injured workers with a 100 percent rating are considered to have total permanent disability and will receive enhanced benefits for the rest of their lives. Workers with total permanent disability are not subject to the $290 per week benefit cap, but instead have the same benefit cap as temporary disability benefits ($1,356.31 per week in 2021).
After being assigned a permanent disability rating, you can mathematically calculate your total benefits package. Let’s say you were assigned a 40 percent permanent disability rating, allowing you to collect benefits for 280 weeks. If your AWE is above $435, your benefit level will be $290. $290 for 280 weeks is a total permanent disability benefits package of $81,200. This figure can be taken into consideration when settling your workers’ compensation claim. While you can make similar calculations for injured workers with more than a 70 percent disability rating for permanent disability benefits, it’s not possible to do so for the lifetime pension benefit, as the value of the pension changes every year.
Get Help with Permanent Disability Benefits
An experienced work injury law firm can help you understand the complexities of permanent disability benefits offered under workers’ compensation law. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has been fighting for the rights and well-being of its clients since 1984. If you’ve suffered a serious work injury resulting in permanent disability, our workers’ compensation attorneys can help you. If we don’t win your case, we will not charge for our services.