We have discussed the timeline for temporary disability benefits, but some injuries are so severe that they make it impossible for you to continue working for the rest of your life. Temporary benefits don’t help when you will never reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) for your condition.
What does a worker’s future look like when they can’t earn wages? For these employees, permanent disability benefits are necessary. Who qualifies for permanent disability typically depends on the type of injury, which determines whether those benefits can be partial or total disability.
Partial disability benefits are based on “scheduled” or “non-scheduled” losses, with an assigned percentage. Scheduled losses may include permanent injury to the following areas of the body:
- Hands or fingers
- Feet or toes
Non-scheduled losses are those that involve areas of the body not listed on the schedule.
Total disability benefits are for a permanent injury or illness that prevents you from returning to gainful employment of any kind. They are provided weekly for a period of 450 weeks; workers who show they are unable to become employed and earn an income after 450 weeks can collect benefits beyond that period.
Total disability is in effect if you lose two major members of your body or a combination of several members of your body. There are many other types of injuries or combinations of injuries that would cease your ability to work.
Do you have a permanent disability?
Regardless of whether a permanent disability benefit is partial or total, these benefits are paid each week and are due after a temporary disability ends. Seeking these benefits can be a source of concern for injured workers and their families, as proving they are unable to work permanently could be difficult.
If you are worried your injury may not be taken seriously enough or you will lose your benefits after 450 weeks, a workers’ compensation attorney can review your case and discuss your legal options. If your workplace causes you to be unable to work, you should not be left with the financial burden.