The workers’ compensation system in Oklahoma provides a number of different types of benefits, including permanent total disability benefits. These benefits are awarded to workers who will never be able to perform any type of work as a result of their work-related injuries. Many disabled individuals rely on these benefits in order to make ends meet since they are no longer able to work and earn an income on their own. But how long will these benefits last? Here’s what you need to know:
When Do Permanent Total Disability Benefits Stop?
The law states that permanent total disability benefits will continue until either:
- The worker reaches the age where he will qualify for maximum Social Security retirement benefits, or
- A period of 15 years, whichever is longer.
For example, let’s say you reach the age of maximum retirement benefits after receiving permanent total disability benefits for 10 years. In this case, you would still receive permanent total disability benefits for another 5 years.
But if you receive permanent total disability benefits for 15 years and are still 10 years away from the age of maximum retirement benefits, the disability benefits will continue until you reach this age.
Will Permanent Total Disability Benefits Continue After Death?
If an injured worker dies due to an unrelated illness or injury, his permanent total disability benefits will stop on the date of his death.
Can Permanent Total Disability Benefits Stop Suddenly?
The Workers’ Compensation Commission in Oklahoma conducts annual reviews of every injured worker who currently receives permanent total disability benefits. Each employee is required to submit an affidavit confirming that they are still permanently disabled and unable to work due to their work-related injuries.
If an injured worker fails to submit this affidavit every year, the Workers’ Compensation Commission will suspend their benefits. You will need to attend a hearing before the Commission in order to reinstate your benefits.
Your benefits may also end if the Commission finds during one of these annual reviews that your condition has substantially improved. If you are no longer permanently and totally disabled, the Commission may terminate your benefits. For example, if the Commission finds that you have been gainfully employed over the last year, they may terminate your benefits since your work-related injuries no longer prevent you from working.
Have you suffered a devastating injury at work? If so, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. as soon as possible. Our experienced attorneys have helped countless clients obtain the permanent total disability benefits they deserve. Let us fight for you. 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.