Permanent Partial vs. Permanent Total Disability Workers’ Compensation Benefits


Posted by: Chris

Injured workers that are receiving workers’ compensation benefits are re-evaluated once they reach maximum medical improvement, which means their condition is not expected to improve any further. At this point, each worker is evaluated to determine if their injuries are permanently disabling. If their injuries prevent them from returning to their pre-injury job, they may qualify for permanent disability benefits. 

There are two types of permanent disability benefits: permanent partial and permanent total. Here’s what you need to know about these benefits:

When Are Permanent Partial and Permanent Total Benefits Awarded?

Permanent total disability benefits are awarded when an employee will never be able to perform any type of work due to the severity of his work-related injuries. An employee qualifies for permanent partial disability benefits if he cannot return to his job, but he can perform other types of work. 

For example, a warehouse worker’s injuries may prevent him from ever being able to safely lift heavy boxes again. He can’t return to his job in the warehouse since this is one of his main job duties, but he finds other work that he can perform despite his injuries. In this example, the worker would qualify for permanent partial disability benefits since he can still perform some type of work. 

How Much Will You Be Awarded?

Both types of benefits are typically paid weekly. The weekly amount is equal to 70% of the injured worker’s average weekly wage. However, this amount is capped at $350 per week for permanent partial disability benefits and $867.71 per week for permanent total disability benefits. 

How Long Will These Benefits Continue?

Permanent total disability benefits will continue for 15 years or until the injured worker is old enough to collect maximum Social Security retirement benefits. If you are awarded permanent total disability benefits, you must file an affidavit every year that states your condition has not changed and you are still unable to work.

The number of weeks that permanent partial disability benefits are awarded varies depending on the severity of your disability. For example, you are only entitled to 11 weeks of benefits if one of your little toes was amputated as a result of your injuries. But, you can receive 275 weeks of benefits if your arm was amputated at the elbow. Regardless of your injuries, you cannot receive more than 350 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits.

If you are permanently disabled due to a workplace injury, contact the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our lawyers will aggressively fight to ensure you are fully compensated for your work-related disabilities. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.